In the Dark

Reporting and Deciding

The Hurt Locker
Produced by First Light Production and Kingsgate Films
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay by Mark Boal
Distributed by Summit Entertainment


At last we have a movie that makes us feel the full obscenity of the Iraq war.  Other films have been well intentioned but have either given in to the temptation to preach (Lions for Lambs) or taken aim at the wrong targets (In the Valley of Elah and Redacted).  The Hurt Locker takes an entirely different tack.  Putting aside sermons and accusations—well aimed or not—it plunges us into the war with all the fervor of an obsessed documentarian and lets events speak for themselves.  It does what FOX News pretends to do: It reports and lets us decide.  Only the title expresses a political position, and it’s quite indirect at that, since the term hurt locker is never spoken in the film.  It’s a slang expression, meaning to put someone in a painful situation from which there’s no immediate escape.  “If you don’t stop harassing me, I’m going to put you in the hurt locker.”  It serves director Kathryn Bigelow’s purpose perfectly.  By pursuing our gratuitous Middle East adventure, she suggests, we have allowed ourselves to be put in a hurt locker, and now we’re stuck there.


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