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"THE HURT LOCKER"
(2009) (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie) (R)


Alcohol/Drugs XX
Blood/Gross Stuff XX
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude XX
Frightening/Tense Scenes XX
Gun/Weapons XX
Imitative Behavior XX
Jump Scenes XX
Music (Scary/Tense) XX
Music (Inappropriate) XX
Profanity XX
Sex/Nudity XX
Smoking XX
Tense Family Scenes XX
Topics to Talk About XX
Violence XX


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Action: A military bomb disposal team operating in Iraq must contend with their newest member whose apparent lack of fear and need for adrenaline repeatedly puts them at risk.
PLOT:
It's 2004, and when their leader, Sergeant Matt Thompson (GUY PEARCE), is killed in the line of duty in Bagdad, bomb disposal team members Sergeant JT Sanborn (ANTHONY MACKIE) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (BRIAN GERAGHTY) await his replacement. That turns out to be Staff Sergeant William James (JEREMY RENNER), an experienced bomb technician who's successfully deactivated nearly 900 explosives.

Sanborn and Eldridge, however, soon learn that James either lacks fear or needs a constant surge of adrenaline from living and working on the edge. Not surprisingly, that makes them increasingly uncomfortable during each mission where his apparently carefree attitude seemingly puts them at risk. While that worsens Eldridge's mental stability, resulting in more visits from military psychiatrist Colonel John Cambridge (CHRISTIAN CAMARGO), Sanborn repeatedly confronts James about his unorthodox and presumably dangerous ways.

Yet, after he encounters a young street hustler he nicknames Beckham (CHRISTOPHER SAYEGH), and makes the parallel connection to his own young son back at home, James begins to question himself and the crazy and dangerous world in which he operates.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, especially if they're interested in the military and its involvement in Iraq. Otherwise, and unless they're a fan of someone in the cast or the director, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For war violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JEREMY RENNER plays a cocksure but cool and composed bomb disposal technician working the streets of Bagdad during the U.S. military occupation there. While he's quite good at what he does, the risks he seemingly takes and his apparent need for the adrenaline rush puts himself and his team in danger. He also uses strong profanity, smokes, and drinks.
  • ANTHONY MACKIE plays a member of his team who isn't happy with James' reckless behavior and how it affects him and Eldridge. He uses profanity and drinks.
  • BRIAN GERAGHTY plays the third member of their team who's emotionally distraught over what he's seen and experienced, and James' behavior only exacerbates that, thus leaving the specialist on the edge of a mental breakdown. He uses strong profanity and drinks.
  • CHRISTIAN CAMARGO plays the military colonel/shrink who works with Eldridge and tries to put a positive and motivational spin on what's troubling the young man.
  • CHRISTOPHER SAYEGH plays a local boy who uses profanity and sells pirated DVDs to the soldiers.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 78 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present.

    Violence consists of people being wounded or killed by explosives or gunfire , while others are manhandled or threatened with weapons. Some of that has fairly bloody results (while another scene is very gory/bloody), and those scenes and moments of potential peril (many involving bombs that might detonate) will likely be unsettling and/or suspenseful for various viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is some potentially imitative behavior and various thematic elements. Drinking is present, as is smoking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of camera movement (often quite bouncy, including point of view) occurs throughout the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sanborn, James and Eldridge drink while getting out their frustration and aggression, with Sanborn exiting for a moment but ordering the others to have a second round. After the others are gone, we see James do more drinking.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • An insurgent is wounded and bloody (the American medic has blood on his gloves from him), but the commanding officer declares that the insurgent won't make it (despite the medic's opinion). As the camera moves away from the man, we hear the apparent kill shot.
  • Sanborn's back is to the camera as he urinates in the desert.
  • We see blood on a man (including in close-up) who's been shot and killed in the desert, while Eldridge is ordered to try to clean that man's blood off a sniper rifle's ammo clip as fast as possible.
  • From a distance, we see a sniper rifle kill-shot and a burst of blood from the target's head.
  • Sanborn, James and Eldridge drink while getting out their frustration and aggression, with Sanborn exiting for a moment, saying he has to "piss."
  • James has various scars on his torso (presumably from an explosive blast sometime in the past).
  • The team finds the body of a dead and very bloody boy who's had explosives stuffed inside him (we hear flies buzzing around). James is repulsed by this sight, but must then examine the body, including using a knife to cut wires poking up through the skin (seen in close-up). He then places his hands down inside the body cavity (very bloody and gory) to remove the bomb. He then places a sheet over the body and then carries that out of the building, with blood soaking through that sheet.
  • James' head is somewhat bloody after a woman hits him there.
  • The team arrives on the scene of the fiery aftermath of a huge explosion at night, with lots of property damage as well as wounded (one guy missing part of his leg -- we see the bloody stump) and dead people.
  • James and Sanborn find a bloody body on the ground following sounds of shooting.
  • James has a bloody nose after being hit by an explosion, while Sanborn has some bloody shrapnel cuts on his face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The bomb makers and terrorists obviously have bad attitudes, but those people are barely personified beyond distant and/or shadowy figures.
  • The term "hadji" is used for Arab terrorists.
  • Beckham is a kid who tries to sell pirated DVDs to the soldiers, and uses the term "my nigger" when addressing a black soldier.
  • An insurgent is wounded and bloody (the American medic has blood on his gloves from him), but the commanding officer declares that the insurgent won't make it (despite the medic's opinion). As the camera moves away from the man, we hear the apparent kill shot.
  • A bomb is detonated in the desert from a distance, with a big explosion. James then says they have to stop as he left his gloves down by the other one, and then drives/walks down to it, thus infuriating Sanborn who states that detonators can misfire, etc. (as he's apparently tempted to do something bad to him for that).
  • Cambridge tells Eldridge that war can be fun and that this should be the time of his life (despite Eldridge obviously suffering from stress).
  • The team discovers that someone has killed a boy to put explosives in his body (or just done the latter as a booby-trap for others).
  • Wanting information, James climbs into a street merchant's truck and holds a handgun on him. The merchant drives him to another person's house and James enters that at night, gun also drawn. He then holds that on the owner.
  • Some local boys throw rocks at the team's Humvee when it passes by.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.
  • When the wheel on a robotic probe's wagon falls off, Thompson must don a protective bomb suit and walk up to the probe and a nearby, suspected bomb. As he slowly makes his way, we see a local man with a cell phone, and others run to stop him, but he dials the number that sets off the bomb. We then see the explosion go off in slow motion behind Thompson as he tries to run off to safety. He's hit by the explosion, however, and we later learn he was killed by that.
  • The crew arrives at the location of their next job, and trash littered everywhere on the street could potentially cover or contain the bomb. James then suits up and starts walking toward his destination, deploying smoke along the way, greatly unsettling Sanborn who can no longer see him. Just then, a car races through a checkpoint, thus alarming everyone, including James who pulls his handgun and aims it at the car, making the driver stop. But that driver won't back away, even with James aiming his gun at him, shooting out the windshield, and then aiming the gun directly at the man's head. It's not until he fires two warning shots into the ground near the car that the man slowly backs away, only to have soldiers then grab and pull him from the car, pinning him to the street (knee down on his head and/or neck). Following that, James finds the hidden bomb and then lies down in front of it to defuse it by hand. He then finds another wire and tugs on that, unearthing and then pulling one bomb and then many in his direction, surrounding him. We then see a man watching him from above, who then runs down the steps and then back through an alley.
  • The crew is called to a location where a building is being evacuated due to an empty car that obviously has something heavy inside its trunk. James goes there to investigate, but a local fires a shot that causes the car to explode and then burn, with soldiers shooting at that man who's up on a balcony. James then puts out the burning car with a fire extinguisher and proceeds to find a large number of bombs in the trunk. Realizing his protective suit won't be effective, he removes it and then disarms the bombs before searching the entire car for the detonator. He takes his time doing so, thus greatly unsettling Sanborn and Eldridge who are standing guard in separate locations and getting increasingly antsy about locals (and possible insurgents) watching them, including one who's videotaping them from a distance. That includes Sanborn telling Eldridge to take cover during one such tense moment.
  • James' crew encounters what appear to be potentially enemy Arabs, armed with machine guns. James' crew then forces them to drop their weapons, at gunpoint, but they turn out to be friendlies dressed in desert garb. One of the latter is suddenly shot, followed by an explosion. Both groups take cover and return fire at an unseen enemy. As the other group's prisoners try to escape, the group leader shoots both of them dead, while a guy behind the large caliber machine gun atop the Humvee is shot in the neck and killed. The leader then sets up a sniper rifle and spots the enemy far away, but is shot by the same and killed. Sanborn then takes that gun and prepares to fire back, with James assisting his spotting, but the ammo clip is jammed with blood, and Eldridge is ordered to clean the ammo as quickly as possible. With that clip, Sanborn then fires at the faraway building, both hitting and missing his intended targets, although he eventually gets all three (including a head shot and another who ends up dangling from an open window). Eldridge then believes he sees a figure near a railroad track in the other direction, and doesn't know what to do. James tells him to decide, so Eldridge opens fire and kills the insurgent, although we don't see the actual impact.
  • The team arrives for their next job, entering what appears to be a deserted building with a wet floor, and they proceed through that with guns at the ready. After spotting a burning cigarette in an ashtray, they then find the body of a dead and very bloody boy who's had explosives stuffed inside him (we also hear fly buzzing sounds). James is repulsed by this sight, but must then examine the body, including using a knife to cut wires poking up through the skin (seen in close-up). He then places his hands down inside the body cavity (very bloody and gory) to remove the bomb.
  • Wanting information, James climbs into a street merchant's truck and holds a handgun on him. The merchant drives him to another person's house and James enters that at night, gun also drawn. He then holds that on the owner who tries to get him to sit and calm down, but a woman then enters the room, starts yelling at James, and then hits him, somewhat bloodying his head.
  • The team hunts for the trigger man of a recent explosion, going through a town at night without any sort of backup (including them splitting up during the search). James and Sanborn then hear gunfire, race in that direction, and find a dead and bloody body on the ground. They then see two men dragging Eldridge off, and shoot those two men. We then see that Eldridge was shot in the leg from that or the earlier shooting.
  • Soldiers aim their weapons at a middle-aged man who's slowly walking through a plaza, and we hear and then see that he has many bombs strapped to his chest. He's changed his mind about being a suicide bomber and wants help, and despite the objections of others, James goes to do just that, but aims his gun at him (while giving commands through a distant translator), not knowing if the man is sincere or if this is a trap. After the man complies with James' order, James sees that the situation is dire, with a timer counting down from two minutes, and many padlocks on the bomb framework around the man's torso. Sanborn races a pair of bolt cutters to him and then leaves on James' insistence, but James realizes he can't cut all of them in time. He apologizes and then tries to race off, but the resultant explosion hits and knocks him to the ground, leaving him with at minimum a bloody nose.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Explosives/Switchblade: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Owen sarcastically comments on tanks being present that are never used.
  • We see two of the guys playing a first-person shooter video game.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You f*cker," "Some f*cking damage," "This ain't no f*cking meet and greet," "Will you shut the f*ck up?" "What the f*ck are you doing?" "F*ck me" (nonsexual), "I don't know what the f*ck he's doing," "(You) M*therf*cker," "F*ck off," "Kill that f*cking asshole," "It's f*cking disgusting," "Get the f*ck down," "Don't f*cking move," "F*ck are you doing?" "F*cking sucks," "Or we're all f*cked," "You weren't f*cking kidding," "I f*cking hate this place," "Oh sh*t," "Cool sh*t," "Tight sh*t," "Best sh*t," "Sh*t-hole," "That's just hot sh*t," "Sh*t happens," "We're in deep sh*t," "I'm too old for that sh*t," "Chicken-sh*t," "You sh*t," "When the sh*t hits the fan," "This is bullsh*t," "No sh*t," "Nobody would give a sh*t," "Little bastards," "Let's rock 'n roll, man," "Hadji," "Sure as hell is now," "My nigger," "Redneck piece of trailer trash like you," "What the hell is he doing?" "A tough little bastard," "Get your ass up," "Bitch" (man) and "Hell no."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some troubled kids to make and/or plant explosives somewhere.
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • James gives "the finger" to a request to wear his communication headset.
  • To get out their frustration and aggression, James and Sanborn playfully but brutally fight after drinking. That includes Sanborn punching James hard in the gut, but James punches him back hard before sitting on him and riding him like a bronco. That doesn't sit well with Sanborn who gets mad and then pulls a switchblade on James, holding it to his neck, with James pulling that closer, but nothing else happens.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • As James searches for a bomb detonator in a car, we hear a sudden sound, but then see that it was James cutting open the seat fabric. Then, as he pulls the radio out from the dash, the windshield wipers suddenly come on.
  • A person is suddenly shot, followed by an explosion.
  • From inside a Humvee, we see a sudden explosion that kills an officer outside the vehicle.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 78 "f" words (6 used with "mother"), 46 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck"), 6 hells, 3 asses (1 used with "hole"), 2 craps, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "G-damn," 5 uses of "Jesus," and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ," "My God" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • About the use of a robotic probe and a bomb, one guy jokes for the one controlling it to push it in, adding, "Pretend it's your d*ck." The second says he'll pretend it's the first guy's, prompting him to jokingly reply that he'll then never get it in.
  • Beckham tries peddling his pirated DVDs, asking a man what he wants, including if that's one with gay sex.
  • James says he has a son, stating his girlfriend got pregnant, they got married and then divorced, but still live in the same house. After the others learn James has a kid, Sanborn says his wife or girlfriend wants kids, with James jokingly telling him, "Give her your sperm."
  • We see James shirtless as he and Sanborn playfully fight.
  • Military guards at a checkpoint gate aim their guns at James when he arrives at night, and when one asks where he's been, James lies and says he's been at a whorehouse. One then quietly asks if he lets James in, will James let him where it is.
  • James' wife shows a little cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • James smokes more than 5 times. In one scene, he offers a cigarette to Beckham who wants it, but James then reneges on the offer, saying the kid shouldn't smoke.
  • The team finds a burning cigarette in an ashtray.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • James says he has a son, stating his girlfriend got pregnant, they got married and then divorced, but still live in the same house. The guys then find James' box of stuff that almost killed him. Along with the detonators and such, they find his wedding ring, and he reiterates the "almost killed me" comment.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The comment that war is a drug.
  • Some men's apparent addiction to violence and the need for an adrenaline rush.
  • The U.S. military involvement in Iraq.
  • Terrorism and terrorists.
  • Bomb disposal teams and their lines of work.
  • James states that due to the way a local man was treated (gun held on him after he drove through a checkpoint, and then pinned to the street) that if he wasn't already an insurgent he is now.
  • Eldridge is emotionally unstable due to what he's witnessed and experienced.
  • Cambridge telling Eldridge that war can be fun and that this should be the time of his life (despite Eldridge obviously suffering from stress).
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see an explosion go off in slow motion behind Thompson as he tries to run off to safety. He's hit by the explosion, however, and we later learn he was killed by that.
  • A car races through a checkpoint, thus alarming everyone, including James who pulls his handgun and aims it at the car, making the driver stop. But that driver won't back away, even with James aiming his gun at him, shooting out the windshield, and then aiming the gun directly at the man's head. It's not until he fires two warning shots into the ground near the car that the man slowly backs away, only to have soldiers then grab and pull him from the car, pinning him to the street (knee down on his head and/or neck).
  • The crew is called to a location where a building is being evacuated due to an empty car that obviously has something heavy inside its trunk. James goes there to investigate, but a local fires a shot that causes the car to explode and then burn, with soldiers shooting at that man who's up on a balcony.
  • An insurgent is wounded and bloody (the American medic has blood on his gloves from him), but the commanding officer declares that the insurgent won't make it (despite the medic's opinion). As the camera moves away from the man, we hear the apparent kill shot.
  • Sanborn punches James in the face for removing his communication headset during a bomb diffusing situation.
  • A bomb is detonated in the desert from a distance, with a big explosion.
  • After James and his crew encounter a group of men in the desert who turn out to be friendlies, one of the latter is suddenly shot, followed by an explosion. Both groups take cover and return fire at an unseen enemy. As the other group's prisoners try to escape, the group leader shoots both of them dead, while a guy behind the large caliber machine gun atop the Humvee is shot in the neck and killed. The leader then sets up a sniper rifle and spots the enemy far away, but is shot by the same and killed. Sanborn then takes that gun and prepares to fire back, with James assisting his spotting, but the ammo clip is jammed with blood, and Eldridge is ordered to clean the ammo as quickly as possible. With that clip, Sanborn then fires at the faraway building, both hitting and missing his intended targets, although he eventually gets all three (including a head shot and another who ends up dangling from an open window). Eldridge then believes he sees a figure near a railroad track in the other direction, and doesn't know what to do. James tells him to decide, so Eldridge opens fire and kills the insurgent, although we don't see the actual impact.
  • To get out their frustration and aggression, James and Sanborn playfully but brutally fight after drinking. That includes Sanborn punching James hard in the gut, but James punches him back hard before sitting on him and riding him like a bronco. That doesn't sit well with Sanborn who gets mad and then pulls a switchblade on James, holding it to his neck, with James pulling that closer, but nothing else happens.
  • The team finds the body of a dead and very bloody boy who's had explosives stuffed inside him.
  • From inside a Humvee, we see a sudden explosion that kills an officer outside the vehicle.
  • Wanting information, James climbs into a street merchant's truck and holds a handgun on him. The merchant drives him to another person's house and James enters that at night, gun also drawn. He then holds that on the owner who tries to get him to sit and calm down, but a woman then enters the room, starts yelling at James, and then hits him, somewhat bloodying his head.
  • Military guards at a checkpoint gate aim their guns at James when he arrives at night, including one who violently pins him to the ground.
  • The team arrives on the scene of the fiery aftermath of a huge explosion at night, with lots of property damage as well as wounded (one guy missing part of his leg -- we see the bloody stump) and dead people.
  • The team hunts for the trigger man of a recent explosion, going through a town at night without any sort of backup (including them splitting up during the search). James and Sanborn then hear gunfire, race in that direction, and find a dead and bloody body on the ground. They then see two men dragging Eldridge off, and shoot those two men. We then see that Eldridge was shot in the leg from that or the earlier shooting.
  • A bomb strapped to a man detonates, killing him, while the explosion hits and knocks James to the ground, leaving him with at minimum a bloody nose, while Sanborn has some bloody shrapnel cuts on his face.
  • Some local boys throw rocks at the team's Humvee when it passes by.



  • Reviewed May 5, 2009 / Posted July 10, 2009

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