“It will put you in the hurt locker.”

Posted by · 10:35 am · February 24th, 2010

The Hurt LockerI don’t really know why Melena Ryzik is indicating over at The Carpetbagger that the title for “The Hurt Locker” hasn’t been explained.  I feel like that was in the water way back around release and even during the Venice and Toronto screenings of 2008, but nevertheless, if you weren’t aware, she got Mark Boal’s answer at a recent NYC event for the film:

It’s a quasi-military term that also shows up around football fields and locker rooms — bro slang, essentially, that’s never mentioned in the film. Mr. Boal first heard it in Baghdad. “I was trying to interview a soldier about a bomb that was there, and I was trying to figure out how much explosive charge the bomb carried, how many pounds and how much damage it could do, and he just sort of said, ‘Put it this way; if it goes off, it will put you in the hurt locker,’ ” Mr. Boal told the Bagger. “And I’d never heard that before, and it really sunk in,” partly because Mr. Boal was close enough to be put in the hurt locker himself. Mr. Boal and Ms. Bigelow meant to tell the story in the movie’s marketing but never quite got around to it, possibly because the movie didn’t get much marketing until it began racking up awards.

As a title, “it appealed to me because it gets to a central theme of the film, which is the cost of war and the brutalizing effects of combat,” Mr. Boal said. “And so more or less, to be really reductive about it, if you’re in Iraq, you’re in the hurt locker.”

Read the rest, including how Boal’s college major informed Jeremy Renner’s character’s name, at The Carpetbagger.

→ 12 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

12 responses so far

  • 1 2-24-2010 at 10:55 am

    Chris said...

    Melena Ryzik google works

  • 2 2-24-2010 at 11:56 am

    Ross said...

    Funny, I’ve not read an explanation of the title, but I’d assumed from the film that the box under William James’ bed where he kept bits and pieces from the bombs he’d defused was the ‘hurt locker.’ While not quite a ‘locker’, more of a crate, I took it as a reference to all of these things that could have hurt him. I’ve been assuming that since I saw the film – now glad I didn’t mislead anyone with my assumption…

  • 3 2-24-2010 at 12:01 pm

    stylewriter said...

    I’d never heard the term The Hurt Locker before, but I assumed it was something bad like a coffin, so I’m baffled why anyone would feel the need to wonder.

  • 4 2-24-2010 at 12:28 pm

    davin said...

    Ross: that is exactly what I assumed, and frankly, I like our explanation better.

  • 5 2-24-2010 at 1:07 pm

    Ross said...

    Davin – I didn’t want to say it, but just quietly, I agree.

  • 6 2-24-2010 at 1:24 pm

    Megan said...

    I figured it was some kind of jargon, but I didn’t know specifically what it meant.

    Nothin spellbinding or chin-scratching, but I’m glad I finally know.

  • 7 2-24-2010 at 1:37 pm

    The Dude said...

    Ross: I believed the same thing you did, and frankly, our assumption is better than the actual story.

  • 8 2-24-2010 at 1:44 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    It’s sort of an antiquated term. I’ve never heard any of the Marines or the Lieutenants use it.

  • 9 2-24-2010 at 3:36 pm

    David said...

    I had not heard a definitive answer, but I had always assumed it was a metaphor. It is of no surprise to me that it is.

  • 10 2-24-2010 at 3:43 pm

    Ben said...

    What James keeps under his bed is commonly referred to as a foot locker. So I think you’re probably correct Ross that the title stems partially from that.

  • 11 2-24-2010 at 5:21 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    First and only time I heard it was in DEMOLITION MAN. “I’m gonna put Phoenix in the hurt locker.” Somehow I doubt that’s where it came from though.

  • 12 2-25-2010 at 1:21 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    THAT’S WHERE I’VE HEARD IT BEFORE! Thanks, Burma. I can sleep now.