The film “The Hurt Locker” opens with a quotation from war correspondent Chris Hedges: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.” From that opening, the movie went on to win many awards including the Academy Awards, or Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar for best director with this film. Although many veterans panned the film for its unrealistic portrait of soldiers and the War in Iraq, film critics generally raved about the movie. It was named one of the best movies of 2009 by many critics. Viewers also loved the movie; it received a 97% “Fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes.com.
The film tells the story of a three man United States Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team in Iraq some time from 2005 to 2007.
As to why the film was named “The Hurt Locker”?
“The Hurt Locker “is a poem by Brian Turner which reads in part:
“Open the hurt locker
and see what there is of knives
and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn
how rough men come hunting for souls.”
Some sites report that the movie was named after the poem. But according to the press packet for the movie, the so called “Hurt Locker” is to be severely injured. According to Mark Boal, the screen writer of the movie, in his New Yorker interview said: “If the bomb goes off, you are going to be in the hurt locker. That was how they used it in Bagdad.”
Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary claim that the first recorded example of the use of the phrase “the hurt locker” dates back to 1966, when it was used by a US newspaper in relation to the Viet Cong being placed in a bad position by American troops.
Being in “the hurt locker” means being in a place or in circumstances that you don’t want to be, or in circumstances that are going to cause you pain. Synonymous phrases are “a world of hurt” or “world of pain.”
As with many military phrases the term has crossed out of strict military use to more general use, especially in sports and politics; the other two conflict driven activates in American culture.