The Hurt Locker

  • Review Date: July 16, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 131 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent, complex Iraq war drama is rough, tough, thrilling.
  • Review Date: July 16, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 131 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
6
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8
9
10
11
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie isn't afraid to tackle tough questions without easy answers. If war is, in fact, hell, then why is it so exciting? If the United States' liberation of Iraq was so welcome, why do insurgents fill the streets with explosive devices? Why do the men of the Army's Explosive Ordinance Demolitions group choose to do this work? Are there abstract -- or real -- political goals worth giving one's life for?

Positive role models

The movie offers a complex portrait of the high-stakes work of volunteer Army and soldiers in Iraq -- and the characters consequently have many shades of gray. Are the men who do this work lunatics or
heroes? Is there any "safe" way to defuse bombs in a war zone? Is the
reckless work of Sgt. James the bravery of a champion
or the recklessness of a fool?

Violence

Extensive realistic war violence, including (but not limited to) explosions, shootings, fighting, and more. Characters are killed on-screen by bombs and wounded by bullets, dead bodies are seen (including one of a young boy that's intended to contain a bomb -- like a grisly Trojan Horse), and there's lots of blood.

Sex

Some crude jokes and references to sexual activity; mild cleavage.

Language

Strong language throughout, including "f--k" (and its variations), "s--t," "dick," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh God," and more -- it's a realistic interpretation of the the vulgar, salty talk of soldiers in a combat zone.

Consumerism

Scenes set in grocery stores include some visible brands.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke and also drink to excess in one scene.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this war drama/thriller is full of very realistic, graphic violence and danger -- shootings, death by explosion, images of dead bodies -- the consequences of these acts are never taken lightly, and they're never depicted as mere "action." Ultimately, it's an intellectually and philosophically stimulating movie that offers parents and older teens the chance to talk about everything from current events to the overall human condition. That said, you can also expect lots of strong language (including many uses of "f--k"), some smoking and drinking, and some crude jokes/sex references.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Set in 2004, THE HURT LOCKER follows the day-to-day work of the soldiers in an Army Explosives Ordinance Demolition (EOD) team -- aka the bomb squad -- as they find and defuse the improvised explosive devices that are the Iraq insurgency's most effective weapon. As new team leader Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner) works alongside Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), audiences get an insight into the minds and hearts of these soldiers -- and how, for some of them, life in the Army dealing with explosives feels easier to handle than life in the civilian world dealing with everything else.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Combining intellectual and philosophical ambition with gut-wrenching, visceral action, The Hurt Locker is unquestionably one of the best films of 2009; it's also a great movie, period, full of excitement, action, graveyard comedy, and brilliant filmmaking technique.

Director Kathyn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days) co-scripted The Hurt Locker with journalist Mark Boal, who was embedded with Army EOD soldiers in 2004; the realism of the script and staging doesn't impede the movie's excitement and dramatic satisfaction but rather makes it all the more rewarding. The characters are real and their situation is real -- and that matter-of-fact approach to the material makes it even more excruciating as James and his men try to figure out how to dismantle bombs in circumstances where failure means death for dozens of people. Yes, The Hurt Locker is violent and tense and bloody, but so is war. Gripping, exciting, and matching brains with brawn, The Hurt Locker's shattering explosions and quieter questions will both echo in your head long after it's done.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does what's shown here compare to the explosions and shoot-'em-up scenes of more mainstream Hollywood blockbusters? Which has more impact?

  • How does the movie portray the United States' invasion of Iraq? Is it different from the way it's been presented in other movies and TV shows? How so?

  • Is Sgt. James a hero or a fool? Does he take unnecessary risks or necessary ones? Does his attachment to a local Iraqi boy improve either of their lives?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 26, 2009
DVD release date:January 12, 2010
Cast:Evangeline Lilly, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes
Director:Kathryn Bigelow
Studio:Summit Entertainment
Genre:Thriller
Run time:131 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:war violence and language

This review of The Hurt Locker was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
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  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 30, 2010
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

A great war movie...

While it's not on par with Saving Private Ryan, this is up there on the war-time thriller movies. A documentary LIKE movie about the war in Iraq, leaves you sad, angry, and tense throughout and after the movie is over...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old April 12, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

It is fine for a ten year old.

Great movie. MUst see watch it.
Kid, 12 years old July 25, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

EXCELENT EXTRODINARY GRIPPING DRAMA

THE BEST FILM I'VE SEEN IN 2009 IS THIS ONE NO FILM THIS YEAR OTHER THAN HARRY POTTER ANF I LOVE YOU MAN THIS DRAME DESERVES OSCARS HANDS DOWN. THE TICK TICK OF THIS MOVIE WILL GET TO YOU WAY BEFORE THE BOOM FACTOR OF THE MOVIE THE GRIPPING SHEER REALISTIC ATMOSPHERE AND SHEER RAW POWER. IF YOU CAN FIND ONE OF THE 4 THEATERS THAT IT'S PLAYING IN GO SEE WHAT IS THE BEST MOVIE OF 2009 PERIOD
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byNitro_Python November 17, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

G

Very good movie, with a lot of language and violence.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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