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Bigelow's movie focuses on an American bomb squad unit in Iraq. It combines the elements and conventions of the war film genre (the hero figure, the disagreements and fights within the unit, the fear that gnaws at some of the characters) with a sustained pace that is typical of the director's works. Together with an effective editing and a dramatic camerawork, the suspence Bigelow creates holds the audience attention and leads the viewers to speculate on the psychology of the main character, William James, for whom war has become a drug as the initial epigraph suggests. By using the conventions of the genre, therefore, the movie invites viewers to speculate on the subtle boundary between heroism and addiction embodied by the main character. The Hurt Locker also achieves a high degree of authenticity in portraying the war effort thanks to its shooting almost on location. The film was shot along the Iraqi-Jordan boundary, very close to where the conflict took place.
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