Study Guide

The Hurt Locker Scene 1

Scene 1

Scene 1

  • First off, we get a title card: "'The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug'—Chris Hedges." Most of the words fade out, though, leaving only "war is a drug" visible. Isn't it nice when movies send you the takeaway right up front?
  • We open on what looks like handheld camera footage, and a title tells us we're seeing Baghdad in 2004. It seems that we're in the middle of a war zone. Pretty quickly, we realize that the "handheld" camera is actually mounted on a little robot that's navigating the chaos.
  • The military is roaming the streets in tanks and talking to people, and the locals are fleeing the area. Suddenly, some soldiers are approaching the scene.
  • The camera-bot is still on the prowl. It rolls up to what looks like a pile of cloth. Uh, we wouldn't touch that if we were you, little robot.
  • Soldiers are controlling the robot, which has some nifty little pincers or tongs attached that allow it to grab stuff. The soldiers use the robot to touch and investigate the pile. They find a bomb inside.
  • The soldiers then talk about how to deal with this, uh, development. Their job seems to be figuring out how to disarm the sucker.
  • The soldiers end up deciding to detonate the bomb, it seems, and they discuss the blast pattern and how to avoid injury.
  • Since the kaboom is going to be pretty big, the soldiers warn the other folks standing around watching to beat it.
  • The soldiers load up the robot with whatever it needs to detonate the bomb, but on its way back to the pile, some goats get in the way. Don't you hate when that happens?
  • To make matters worse, the wagon the robot is using to cart over the equipment falls. So, plan B takes effect: the robot heads back to the soldiers, and one of the soldiers gets dressed in a bomb suit and heads off to deal with the bomb himself.
  • We have a bad feeling about this. There are lots of people watching the guy in the suit.
  • The scene is super tense, as you might imagine, and the guy in the suit is panting away—no surprise, given that he's in a scorching hot country and wearing a bomb suit.
  • Suddenly, in the middle of all this tension, a local guy approaches one of the soldiers who's radioing with the guy in the bomb suit. The soldier warns the unwelcome visitor to stay away, even though the guy is apparently trying to be friendly. The whole team continues to talk to each other and coordinate by radio.
  • The soldier in the bomb suit says he's 25 meters away. The soldier on the radio says the soldier in the suit is now in the "kill zone."
  • The bomb guy gets to the wagon and takes it to where the bomb is. Everyone is waiting and watching. He "lays the charge" on the bomb and speeds away.
  • Whew, that was tense, but the worst is over, right? The soldier in the suit is headed away from the bomb, his job done. We can relax now. Right? Right?
  • The soldiers certainly seem to think so, and the guy on the radio (whose name is Sanborn, we find out) and another soldier joke around about starting a grass business—since what Baghdad needs, they say, is more grass. Soldier-in-the-suit is still on his way back.
  • Turns out, we all breathed easy too soon. Eldridge (one of the future grass salesmen) spots a guy with a cell phone watching everything that's happening from a nearby butcher shop. And apparently, that is a huge red flag to him. The soldiers start yelling at the guy to turn off the phone, but their worst fears are realized, and the guy uses the phone to detonate the bomb before the guy in the bomb suit has made it out of the danger or "kill" zone.
  • In that moment, as Sergeant Sanborn cries out, we finally learn the man in the bomb suit's name: Thompson.

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