Critic Review - Variety

Often gripping at a straight thriller level, but increasingly weakened by its fuzzy psychology, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker doesn't bring anything new to the table of grunts-in-the-firing-line movies.

September 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (36)
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Chris Boal

Another snarky Variety Review. Why hasn't RT posted the POSITIVE reviews of this truly unique and cool film??? TIME magazine? The Toronto Star?? What's up RT???

Sep 6 - 06:59 AM

Tipton B.

Tipton Brian

Well Mr. Elley, since you obviously haven't seen the movie, please allow me to review it for you. The Hurt Locker is an ultra tense look inside one small group of bomb defusers operating in Iraq. It gets off to an explosive start and rarely lets up. I've read elsewhere that some soldiers who have seen it regard it as the most realistic film about the war to date.

Jun 17 - 02:50 PM


jon paul

After watching this film and actually being to Iraq I must say that I don't hate the film, but it is VERY flawed. Everything from how they have sleeves rolled up to how the whole movie they are operating as a lone gun truck (this never happens you at the very least always have two crews running together). Also in all my time there I never saw EOD diffuse an IED they always just took the robot and blew it up. I'm not saying that the movie was bad, and would have probably been awesome if I wouldn't have been overseas and know the truth. Overall it was very hollywoodish and in that sense a disapointment.

Jun 18 - 02:06 PM

Mike H.

Mike H

I agree with chuckles21. EOD used RC cars (those fancy robots are expensive) with shaped charges to blow them in place. Most IED's were wireless or had wireless backup.

No EOD tech i ever met was willing to walk up finger F%@* an IED until he figured out how to diffuse it. We'd be out of EOD techs in 2 days if that was the SOP.

The dialogue between the soldiers is just horrible too. At least it looked like Iraq.

Jun 25 - 12:20 PM

Jason S.

Jason Sousley

Chuckles and Mike H,
I am going to tell you this right now. You don't know what your are talking about. I worked QRF with EOD and I also did Route Clearance. Just by what you two wrote I can tell you NEVER worked with EOD.

Mike H really, seriously, RC cars? If you have ever worked with EOD you know how stupid what you wrote is. If you have ever been in country you would also know why wireless is dumb.

Chuckles every day I rolled out the wire I rolled up my sleeves and unbloused my boots.

Jun 30 - 12:08 PM

Mike H.

Mike H

I'm speaking from a 2004 perspective and i never said i worked with EOD. I was just another body on a kill roster questioning my life choices that led me to the point where i was driving down MSR bronze and ASR uranium looking for an ambush or an IED.

Jul 1 - 11:36 AM


robert drake

Jason Im sure you defused over 800 bombs hands on wires, thats why you were still alive and were able to post some bullshit comments on RT. Give me a break! I tell you, you wouldnt last even 2 days if you started approaching things like that idiot in the movie. Ridiculous..

Jul 13 - 03:08 AM

Sam L.

Sam Largaespada

With all due respect Mike, I think his character was suppose to be a lone wolf that does not really care about doing his job right or really cares about anything. I think that makes for a good movie.

Mar 7 - 12:50 PM

dd n.

dd nn

I just watched Hurt Locker and i dont know what to say , i have high respect for RT ratings they were always spot on and i was never disappointed by watching movies recommended by RT, save this one.

First of all i do love war movies starting with white and black 2. World war movies to modern ones like Full Metal Jacket ,Apacolypse Now ,Platoon , even Three Kings was ok.

But this movie try to be something else ,one moment it try to be dramatic then goes on with holywood style action then try to impress us with cool lines and `24` ish camera shaking gets old real fast and except few moments barely interesting ,this was an average and boring movie.

I must agree with Derek Elley there was nothing new at all in this movie just another movie about heroic american soldiers fighting with evil insurgents...

Jun 25 - 10:26 PM

usayeed h

Usayeed Haque

I'm sick and tired of people saying that however didn't like The Hurt Locker haven't seen the movie, which is completely untrue. I've seen it with high expectations, and frankly I wasn't impressed with it. It's not at all intense like I expected it to be, and I was bored the whole way. Dudes, if you liked it, that's cool, but not everyone is going to agree. This film didn't have any emotional connection with me at all, and I hardly think it's realistic. I've seen far better war films than this, honestly, I have.

Mar 28 - 02:47 PM

usayeed h

Usayeed Haque

Dude, I couldn't agree with you any more. Your reaction was exactly Identical to my own.

Mar 28 - 02:48 PM


Miguel Gonzales

Well, all three of you have me beat. Compared to the service you three gentlemen have served, I've been on the mainland this whole time with my thumb up my butt. Still I wish you guys wouldn't fight over who has more military knowledge. I mean come on! Isn't there supposed to be commradery amongst soldiers?

Jul 10 - 10:18 AM

Thaun T.

Thaun Trinh

since people are pointing out the flaws in this movie id like to point a few things out as well. Id also like to say that these flaws are minor and the movie was a very enjoyable experience for me. THIS POST CONTAINS SOME SPOILER PLEASE SKIP IF YOU HAVENT SEEN THE MOVIE

1. The very first bomb James defused, the check point guys didnt place warning shots and let the driver ran their check points. On top of that they all pointed their guns at the cab AND James as well. This never happen in the infantry unit I was in.
2. The E4's M68 gunsight is meant to provide a red dot not zooming power.
3. At the scene where they met the Black Water guys, they were traveling in a lone Hummvee. This never happen in the infantry.
4. Its cool that they squeezed some sniper action scene in there but EOD rescuing Blackwaters? I doubt that ever happen.
5. At the night scene where each of them tried to clear each ally way with one guy. Nobody ever clear a sector with one person in the infantry or the US Army.
6. This go back to #1. They shot their own soldier !!!!! At this scene I realized what a dirtbag James is, but this would never ever happen in the infantry.
7. James talking to the Colonel in Parade Rest out in the city!!!!
8. Blackwater firing their weapons from the hip????

Jul 14 - 02:46 PM

Price D.

Price Deltoid

The Hurt Locker was not %u201Cvisionary%u201D or %u201Cnear flawless%u201D but rather predictable. I don%u2019t understand why the critics aren%u2019t criticizing the movie because most of the story as been told before. Instead of the Black guy dying it was obvious Colonel John Cambridge/Psychologist was going to die. The relationship between the %u201Cred neck trailer trash%u201D and the Black guy getting along because they need each other in the war environment was obvious. How could Jeremy Renner%u2019s character (Staff Sergeant William James) develop such an emotional commitment to the kid that sold DVDs that he%u2019d risk his life diffusing the explosives inside the kid so he could bring the kid%u2019s body out of the building? It was completely ludicrous when Jeremy Renner%u2019s character left the compound to go to Professor Nabil%u2019s house. It was absolutely ridiculous when the three soldiers left the compound after the compound was attacked. Did they expect to find the attackers sitting in the same position with the detonator in their hands? Why would they separate and not have any communications devices? They deserved more than what happened to them for being stupid. Every scene involving diffusing explosives didn%u2019t make sense. Why was Jeremy Renner%u2019s character using a radio near the explosives that were locked on the man? The EOD personnel never made the assumption that whoever set the explosives was still in the area and ready to denote the explosives.

Jul 19 - 06:10 AM


Steve Suslik

Derek, here is my review of you: This critic is not capable of enjoying a film. He tries desperately to make a case for why he is right and the rest of the world is wrong. Desperately in need of a haircut, Derek Elley fails miserably at his craft.

Jul 21 - 11:16 PM

David H.

David Hudson

Alright gents, I think this just needs to be said from a 2005 point of view... it's a movie, get over it, the news can't get it right what makes you think holly wood can? And from the looks of the massive amounts of positive reviews I think I'll go watch it to enjoy it... as a movie.. which is how it should be treated and not as a war documentary.

Aug 1 - 03:32 PM

Mr Awesome

Devon Bott

This is a drama, not a documentary.

Aug 6 - 03:57 AM



The camera shaking sucks - just too much American bull****

Aug 7 - 12:58 PM


Branden L

Lol I saw EOD pick up IEDs all the time.. it was like 50/50 sometimes they'd use a robot and sometimes they'd use the claw on the buffalo.. and other times they walked up and pull the blasting cap out by pulling on the copper wires.. lol..

I've been blown up and seen enough IEDs go off to know the only thing that I never saw was any kind of bomb suit.. EOD would never want themselves to be that easily targeted.. at least out in Al Anbar..

The only thing that set them apart intially is they were the only people rolling around in 6x6 cougars.. but Im talking from 2006 when I was there obviously a while after the movie is supposed to take place.. which also ironically enough I dont think the army even switched to those god awful ACUs yet.. but who knows I can't remember **** anymore being blown up so much. haha.

Aug 10 - 05:45 AM


Mark Linthicum

I did not like the movie and agree with the review.
If i want to see a documentary I will see a real one, i do not want to sit through shaky camera and jump cut editing in a narrative to make it feel more real! In some key scenes you must rely on dialog to tell what is happening because the camera is not on anyones face.

Aug 13 - 09:36 PM


Mark Linthicum

I did not like the movie and agree with the review.
If i want to see a documentary I will see a real one, i do not want to sit through shaky camera and jump cut editing in a narrative to make it feel more real! In some key scenes you must rely on dialog to tell what is happening because the camera is not on anyones face.

Aug 13 - 09:39 PM

Phil K.

Phil Kramer

I'm 14 so I don't really have anything to contribute to all the people who wish that this was some sort of documentary whereas everything has to be completely realistic.

But, I did NOT notice the camera shaking through the whole movie. I loved it.

Aug 15 - 04:02 PM

Athony G.

Athony Giovinazzo

To those complaining of the "shaky" camera footage pop some dramamine and check to see if your nuts are still attached. On the movie side of things I will say that the hurt locker is not the greatest movie, or as pointed out the most realistic, but that it does provides 2 hours of extremely enjoyable movie going and is a movie i will watch again. Finally to Mr. Elley I hate to break it to you but very few movies these days bring something new to the table; and if that is for you what defines a good movie then i cannot imagine you find much joy in your profession these days. Remember not ever movie has to be groundbreaking it just has to be entertaining.

Aug 23 - 12:11 AM

Jaime A.

Jaime Ackroyd

In reaction to the negative response to the cinematography being 'shaky', i think DP Barry Ackroyd does a superb job creating a beautiful real life feel to the film, instead of producing the more popular mainstream clean cut camerawork. I believe his work is more a piece of art rather than just filming what happens. In general I think the hurt locker is an extremely exciting, entertaining film and obviously it is not going to be 100% realistic but i believe it does a fair job. Mark Boal (the writer) followed a bomb squad around in iraq for a year in 2004 to get a real sense of how the bomb squads work so it is relatively accurate.

Sep 2 - 05:30 PM



Interesting comments. Saw the movie today and was riveted so I guess they did their job as an entertainment.
BTW, I'd like to thank you guys for your service. We appreciate you.

Oct 1 - 10:31 PM

The Jesus

Jason Mcdonald

The movie is average at best and hugely overated at its full blown "i'm getting nominated for everything" worse.
As a war movie it doesn't come close to the classics. Dark days of cinema are upon us.

Dec 17 - 09:02 AM

Alan K.

Alan Kassab

Ok what the hell is wrong with this guy dosent know what he is talking about is is the only rotten review out of all the top crit

Jan 3 - 08:48 PM

Philip B.

Philip Bledsoe

I agree. I am shocked by the fact that this plotless and utterly predictable film is getting such high ratings. The DP should get credit and that's all. I actually giggled when the Psych Dr. blew up! I thought to myself, there's no way they will do the obvious... but they did! J O K E of a movie... Oh, and let's get fake drunk and act like meatheads... Never seen that in a film.

Feb 2 - 01:11 PM

Eric L.

Eric LeBlanc

Plotless? I don't think I can even laugh at that.

Does "War is a drug" ring any bells?

Mar 27 - 08:07 PM

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