Study Guide

The Hurt Locker The Other

The Other

In The Hurt Locker, we pretty much see the Iraq War through the eyes of the EOD team. We see what they see, hear what they hear, know what they get the picture.

Of course, these guys are in a foreign country where everything—the climate, the people, the languages—is different, and that creates some extra challenges while they are trying to, you know, stay alive. They don't speak (much) Arabic, so they can't speak to the non-English-speaking civilians, and they are constantly worrying about whether the Iraqis surrounding them are curious onlookers or terrorists waiting to blow them up.

With the exception of Beckham, the soldiers in the film have no extended or meaningful contact with the Iraqi civilians they are supposedly trying to protect, which definitely makes it seem like there are definitive "us" and "them" camps.

Questions About The Other

  1. Do you find it offensive that the film doesn't give more of a voice or perspective to the Iraqis? And is that deliberate or accidental?
  2. What do you make of the way the soldiers treat the Iraqis surrounding them? Is it objectionable? Understandable?
  3. What is Beckham's ultimate importance in the film? How does he help us understand Will's character?

Chew on This

The fact that there are no Iraqi characters with any depth is pretty offensive—why not show a fuller set of perspectives on the action?

This film is showing us how the EOD team experiences these situations, and so it's important that we share in the limitations of their perspective and experience. It's true to the overall documentary-style approach of the film.

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