22 February, 2010

The Hurt Locker

Have you heard of the film “The Hurt Locker”?  No?  Me neither. So it came as a bit of a surprise yesterday when I found myself watching the opening scenes. How did I get here?

Good question. It was one of the more painful trips to the cinema. Off to a bad start, we were late leaving and it was always going to be a rush to get there. Five minutes to go before show time we were in sight of the cinema and only one thing stood in our way: The Mardi Gras Fair. D'oh! Traffic ground to a standstill and there wasn't a parking space for miles. Bugger. There was an upside: - anything to do with Mardi Gras is great for people-watching while being stuck in the largest traffic snarl this side of the moon.

Switch to Plan B. With no way of being able to make the 4:50pm session we decided to try a later session at a cinema in the city. There was always parking available in the city on a Sunday. What could possible go wrong? Chinese New Year Parade. D'oh! After several laps around the city we found a parking station with spaces available. They, however, failed to mention that the last remaining spaces were actual barricaded off and were part of a construction area. D'oh!  It was about now I had a spectacular sense of humour failure. There was no construction occurring at 5pm on a Sunday, so to the delight of the line of cars behind me who were equally screwed, I got out of the car and removed the barriers. Viva la revolution!

Kung Hei Fat Choy to
all the tigers out there

Having secured a car park, we were left with one small hurdle: we were on one side of the road, the cinema was on the other side of the road and the Chinese New Year Parade was in the middle. D'oh! One of the great things about Sydney is, in an attempt to squeeze as much real estate value out of a single piece of land, there is always an underground shopping mall that can be used if you need to dodge the traffic.

While the journey to the cinema was very exciting, this blog posting is actually a film review. The Hurt Locker is a war film set in Iraq. I've seen a number of these types of films lately but this one was different. It refreshingly didn't take sides or push the anti-American “you really screwed this one up” stance. The focus of the film is on a team of bomb disposal unit technicians. They are nearing the end of their tour in Iraq when a new team leader joins the unit. The new leader, Staff Sergeant William James, has a different approach to bomb disposal which leaves him at odds with the rest of his crew. This creates tension in an already impossibly tense working environment.

Is James a bomb disposal genius or is he a reckless red-neck who is endangering his team? As the film shows you more of his character you begin to see the complexities of the situation and you begin to wonder how these men can ever return home to live a normal life.

At times this is difficult film to watch, but like many difficult tasks, the rewards are great. I felt I was watching a modern-day game of Russian Roulette as these men daily face death while clearing bombs. The suspense makes it impossible to look away. The screen writer is a journalist who spent time embedded in a bomb unit while in Iraq and there is an authentic look and feel to the film. It's one of those films that you find yourself thinking about a week later. The Hurt Locker made an enormous impact on me and, if you are looking for a film to make you think, I recommend it.

If I had to compare this film to a food it would be Wild Salmon – top shelf brain food.

Check out the film website if you want to know more.


  1. I saw a movie once.

  2. No you didn't. It was just a really long commercial and you still fell asleep before the end.

  3. Love going to the movies but not sure if that ones for me. Left you a little tag at my place :O)