- EOD technician Jay Ly criticizes a bomb defusal scene in The Hurt Locker, awarding an accuracy grade of one out of 10.
- Ly reveals that Renner’s character makes a number of mistakes that would probably get him killed, and the entire depiction of bomb defusal is mostly wrong.
- Ly isn’t the first veteran to take issue with The Hurt Locker, and the criticisms raise interesting questions about the obligations that movies have to accuracy when it comes to real-world events.
The Hurt Locker gets put under the microscope by a real-life EOD technician, and the critically-acclaimed war movie gets just about everything wrong. Released in 2009, the film is directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jeremy Renner as a member of the bomb squad during the Iraq War. The movie was nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture.
Now, in a recent video for Insider, EOD technician Jay Ly reviews a bomb defusal scene from The Hurt Locker, ultimately deeming the film to be completely lacking in realism.
Renner’s character, in particular, does just about everything wrong, and Ly remarks that his movements and mannerisms would probably get him killed. Check out Ly’s full explanation below:
“We would clown this movie so much in training. We would just pretend we were this dude and just do the most outlandish sh-t, because that’s exactly what he did. He’s attacking a VBIED, which is a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Walking up to a VBIED without a tool, an explosive tool, an energetic tool, or anything, not even a pole line, to prosecute this vehicle is just dumb.
“He went downrange in a bomb suit with a crowbar. I mean, cool. They would probably send a robot down with a tool first. Especially because that’s a lot of [high explosive]. A VBIED is no joke. Even the guys on the wall, his security element, they’d probably die if that thing went off.
“He could have died a half-dozen to a dozen ways in this clip alone, not to mention the whole movie. Kicking it, randomly opening the trunk by hand, opening the hood by hand, turning the windshield wipers on, yanking random wires under the hood. Like, any one of those things could have set that thing off.
“The most realistic thing in there was the radio thing. He took his headset off so he could focus and get his thought process going. And then when they asked him to put his headset back on, yeah [a middle finger] is probably the response you’d get from an EOD tech.
“It gets a one out of ten.”
How Much Does The Hurt Locker’s Realism Matter?
Why The 2009 Jeremy Renner Film Was So Controversial
Although the film cleaned up at the Oscars, The Hurt Locker did prove controversial with war veterans. Some veterans took issue with the film’s depictions of combat, bomb defusals, and soldiers, with Renner’s Staff Sergeant William James proving especially controversial due to his uncaring attitude and general demeanor when it comes to safety.
Despite the negative response from veterans, there’s no denying that the movie was a hit. The Hurt Locker‘s Rotten Tomatoes score is an impressive 97%, and the film was a success at the box office. This dichotomy raises an interesting question about the responsibility that movies have when it comes to depictions of real-world events. For the most part, a movie’s primary goal will always be to entertain, but this is evidently complicated when a film explores a recent conflict that resulted in a substantial loss of life, not to mention the lasting controversial nature of the conflict itself.
Obviously, there’s no easy answer when it comes to a film’s responsibility for accuracy. There’s no denying, however, that a movie like The Hurt Locker will influence and inform how some audiences view the depicted conflict and its participants. With The Hurt Locker inspired by real soldiers’ experiences, it’s not hard to understand why veterans took issue with aspects of what ended up on screen.
The Hurt Locker
- Release Date:
- Kathryn Bigelow
- Jeremy Renner, David Morse, Guy Pearce, Anthony Mackie, Ralph Fiennes, Christian Camargo, Evangeline Lilly, Brian Geraghty
- 131 minutes
- Thriller, War, Drama
- Mark Boal
- During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.
- $15 million
- Summit Entertainment
- Summit Entertainment