A sobering indictment of war’s futility, The Hurt Locker follows the perilous activities of a bomb squad as they de-activate devices on the streets of Baghdad. When a well-respected bomb technician is tragically lost his replacement’s unnerving fearlessness causes tensions to mount and threatens to compromise the safety of their missions.
The opening caption ‘war is a drug’ speaks volumes about director Bigelow’s intentions here who wisely chooses not to address the political implications of the army’s presence in Iraq, instead aiming to reduce the effects of war to the level of the individual. Through the character of James, for whom the idea of war satisfies a heightened sense of self-importance, Bigelow raises legitimate concern as to whether war attracts or creates the neuroses of its soldiers. As aurally impressive as it is visually, the film’s atypical narrative style is perhaps the one area in which it is lacking.
Words: Aoife O’ Regan