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Posts Tagged ‘David Morse’


I’m a little behind on movies.  The Hurt Locker was one I’ve wanted to see for some time.  CavWife didn’t realize it made it to the top of the Net Flix queue.  In many ways it was Platoon in the desert without the Oliver Stone agenda.  I say this because it is about the struggle between 2 Sgt.s for the soul of a young soldier.  I’ll try not to give up too many spoilers.

Pearce from the opening sequence

The movie opens with the bomb squad  doing its job in the midst of Baghdad circa 2004.  The robot breaks down in mid-mission.  The team leader, played by Guy Pearce (dude, where have you been?), puts on the suit to set the charges to set off the IED.  The team seems to have some good cohesion.  They joke with each other to ward off the fear they all feel.  They like to play it safe.  The suit is a last resort.  These guys just want to get home in one piece.  But something goes terribly wrong, resulting in the team leader’s death.  Sgt. Sanborn seems able to move on, but Specialist Eldridge is left to pick up the metaphorical pieces, feeling guilt for an inability to prevent the deadly explosion.

Sgt. Thompson’s  replacement is quite different.  He’s not approachable, a bit caustic.  Over time we learn he’s a Ranger whose disabled well over 800 bombs.  We also learn that he loves this.  The movie opens with a quote about the addiction of war.  It refers to Staff Sgt. James.  The rest of the team soon realizes that he loves the suit.  We don’t see the robotics again.

Jeremy Renner as Staff Sgt. James

The team has only 38 days left in their deployment.  The film focuses primarily on the missions during that time frame.  But the scenes in between are telling.  James is a confused man who only finds clarity in the suit.  But he often puts his team at risk, which has Sanborn less than upset.  But not everyone is.  David Morse plays a Col. who loves the craziness of James.  He too is addicted to the rush of adrenaline.  They are like kindred spirits, and Sanborn just doesn’t get it.

Sanborn is not a coward, by any means.  He’s just not into unnecessary risk.  At one point he and Eldridge are watching while James heads back to a detonation site to get his gloves.  They are in the middle of the desert to destroy some ordinance.  Sanborn entertains the idea of setting off the bomb to kill him before he gets them killed.  Accidents do happen, after all.  It is a chilling moment- he hates what this man represents and the fact that he places them all in jeopardy.

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