Cultural Arts Review

Posted on September 24, 2012 by


In an intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world the movie “The Hurt Locker” brings a scary image of the Middle East. If you have not seen the movie here is a quick summary that I got from

 When SFC William James joins Bravo Company in Iraq, they have a month or so left in their tour of duty. He’s a bomb disposal expert and he is replacing Sgt Matt Thompson, a long-standing member of the team who was recently killed disposing of an improvised explosive device. To say that James loves what he does doesn’t quite capture the emotional high he experiences when he gets to do what he does best. For his fellow squad members however, including Sgt JT Sanborn and Spc Owen Eldridge, they just want to survive the few days of duty they have left. James risk taking however drives them all to the edge.

 These soldiers have an extremely stressful job that I am sure very few of us would want to be doing. The challenges these men face leave us as an audience sometimes confused or frustrated. I find myself asking the question “why?” Like many other pieces of media out there, this movie leaves a powerful image of life in the Middle East, specifically Baghdad where religious “extremists” that dramatically affect the lives of both the local and foreign people.  

 Throughout the film we are given a pretty good picture of the horrors in Baghdad. Random explosions along with other graphic material leave you feeling disturbed and angry. You never know who is behind an explosion that killed innocent people or for what reason it happened. All in all these graphic images and ruthless explosions just leave a negative impression on the Muslim religion but at the same time victimizing it as well. 

 As depicted in the movie the man behind the detonation of a bomb could be anyone. All that is needed is a cell phone. Suspense builds as we try to figure out what is going to happen next. Any person at the bombsight could be the one to trigger the explosion. So as a result of these terrible happenings the typical reaction is to be suspicious of anyone of the locals. The difference between life and death can be as minuscule as; is the butcher calling home or trying to blow me up? It sounds ridiculous, but the movie just makes you feel suspicious of basically every man with facial hair and a phone, which is not the right way to go about life.

 Of course like most Hollywood movies “The Hurt Locker” is taken from a western point of view. Throughout the movie there is a bright use of Muslim symbols and traditions. But usually when you spot a Muslim flag it’s not shown in an innocent light. Instead you may see it hanging on a wall in a “terrorist lair.” Incorporating the flag with terrorism. Along with this, in a couple different scenes in which William James and his company are in dangerous intense situations, the only noticeable sound is the distant chant/song of Muslim prayer. These chants or songs just scream that something bad is going to happen and just leave us with a negative impression on these Muslim traditions.

 Unfortunately this movie is not created or made up like some sort of fairy tale. People dying in these countries from car bombs and other terroristic manners are a reality. There are people out there who kill in the name of Muhammad, which is very unfortunate for the rest of the followers of the Muslim beliefs. This movie is not just a depiction of American men and the way they handle these horrifying stressful situations. Illustrated in this piece of media is an area that has been beaten and torn for centuries by a relentless war based off religious beliefs.

 “The Hurt Locker” depicts a powerful image of a very conflicted culture. After watching this movie in my opinion I find Baghdad as a less than desirable place to live. Religion plays a big role in the conflict that takes place. This film has some interesting symbolism ideas, but doesn’t really portray this Muslim culture in the best of light by focusing more on negative aspects and events incorporated with these aspects. A reason to probably why this is is probably because the plot of this movie is about a group of soldiers disabling armed bombs in a very unstable and hostile part of the world.

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