Films & Schedules

  • The Hurt Locker

  • Kathryn Bigelow

130 minutes

Production Company:
Voltage Pictures/First Light/Kingsgate Films
Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal
Mark Boal
Production Designer:
Karl Juliusson
Barry Ackroyd
Bob Murawski, Chris Innis
Paul N.J. Ottosson
Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders
Principal Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes

Canadian Distributor:
Equinoxe Films
International Sales Agent:
Voltage Pictures

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Find a bomb, defuse it. Find a bomb, defuse it. The job is simple enough, but the room for error is zero. Fail to defuse it, and die. This is the daily work of the United States Army's Bravo Company. They patrol Baghdad during one of the Iraq war's most hellish times, trying each day not to get blown up.

Of all the films trying to show just what the war feels like, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is the one that cracks it. At the top of her game, there is no better chronicler of pure guts under fire than Bigelow. This film stands among her very best.

After a shocking opening sequence, James (Jeremy Renner) joins a tightly knit bomb-disposal unit where Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is already the intelligence expert. James, by contrast, is a real cowboy. Even in the hulking shell of his bomb suit, his swagger is obvious. He has successfully disabled 873 devices, approaching the job with the no-nonsense grit of a Bigelow hero – and the recklessness too.

But as the unit faces tougher challenges with each new bomb, the men start to fight James's bullish methods. They have only thirty-eight days left in their rotation. They want to live to see day thirty-nine.

The Hurt Locker is a masterwork of suspense. Bigelow immerses her story in the specifics of the job these men do, even as she amps up the tension from the first scene and keeps it cranked throughout. And by choosing an explosives team, she has found the key to understanding the particular character of the Iraq war. Just as helicopters and guerilla warfare encapsulated Vietnam, improvised explosive devices define Iraq. Apart from their lethal force, these hidden bombs obliterate trust. The men of Bravo Company are amused by a local kid, who has named himself Beckham and adopted a hip-hop attitude. But they can't trust him any more than they can help him.

Rooted in right now yet timeless in its craft and insight, The Hurt Locker joins the pantheon of great American films about war.

Cameron Bailey

Kathryn Bigelow was born in Northern California, where she studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and attended the graduate programme in film studies at Columbia University. Her filmography includes The Loveless (82), Near Dark (87), Blue Steel (90), Point Break (91), Strange Days (95), The Weight of Water (00), K-19: The Widowmaker (02) and The Hurt Locker (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award