“The Hurt Locker” (2008 production, 2009 release). Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Christian Camargo, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Sayegh, Evangeline Lilly; Director: Kathryn Bigelow; Screenplay: Mark Boal
Beliefs can be stubborn things at times, as most law of attraction practitioners can attest. They settle in, make themselves comfortable, and persistently manifest the familiar elements of our realities, faithfully creating—and continually re-creating—the existences to which we’ve grown accustomed. We generally take this situation for granted, so much so that it can be difficult to change when the need arises, even when the desire is strong. Such is the characters’ lot in the gritty war drama, “The Hurt Locker.”
Every day is a matter of life and death—literally—for the members of Bravo Company, an elite military unit on duty in Iraq responsible for defusing explosive devices. So it is a shock—but not entirely unexpected—when the team’s leader (Guy Pearce) is killed in action. Surviving unit members Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Spec. Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) are subsequently assigned a new commander, Staff Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner), and they initially welcome him openly. But Sanborn and Eldridge quickly grow uneasy about their new superior when they witness him taking jaw-droppingly careless risks, cavalier to the point of recklessness.
With their duty time running short, Sanborn and Eldridge focus on doing whatever it takes to get out of Iraq alive. For James, however, the mission is something else entirely; he sees it as a just, heroic cause. But, all his seemingly well-intentioned nobility aside, the renegade leader fails to understand that his beliefs have also engaged him in a dangerous undertaking, driven by undercurrents of vanity and obsession, that puts the lives of his unit at risk. So as Bravo Company’s tour of duty winds down, the question that looms increasingly large is, “Will they survive?”
“The Hurt Locker” is an excellent exploration into the persistence and pervasiveness of beliefs. For whatever reason, the characters in this film have materialized, through the law of attraction, the war in which they’re embroiled, whether they’re aware of it or not. It’s a creation that’s everywhere they go, too, whether they’re defusing a grenade hidden in a sack of garbage or investigating a tanker truck explosion in Baghdad’s Green Zone. But the confrontational materializations don’t stop there; the same beliefs responsible for manifesting the omnipresent combat conditions carry over into more personal aspects of their realities, mimicking the larger conflict on a smaller scale. When Sanborn and Eldridge question James’s actions, for example, a war of wills breaks out, leading to the same kind of animosity and mistrust amongst themselves that these battlefield comrades feel for the enemy they’re fighting. In fact, so pervasive is this belief-driven sense of combativeness that it even spills over into such alleged leisure time pursuits as bouts of unruly drunken gut-punching. One has to wonder where it will all end.
But considering how persistent and pervasive beliefs of almost any nature can be, should it come as any surprise that things would play out any differently when it comes to those responsible for creating the conditions of war? As was illustrated in the law of attraction primer “What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?” (2004) and discussed in such writings as Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief (Hay House, 2008), beliefs can become so entrenched in one’s consciousness that they’re externally reflected everywhere. They can even become imbedded in one’s biology, spawning compulsions and addictive behaviors that are nearly impossible to shut off, no matter how blatantly unhealthy they might be or how obviously they’re in need of change. For those ensconced in a wartime context, the relentlessness of such unyielding beliefs can create a living hell. It’s thus easy to see why habits can be hard to change, and the more intense the source of the addiction, the harder the addiction cycle is to break, all because of beliefs.
“The Hurt Locker” is an intense, gripping picture that’s definitely not for the squeamish, but it’s an excellent depiction of what happens when our beliefs get out of control (or, more precisely, when we allow them to gain control over us), a concept applicable in all sorts of contexts, not just combat. Admittedly, the pacing is a bit slow at times, and some plotlines don’t play out to completion as satisfactorily as they probably could have, but this is a fine piece of filmmaking in all other respects. Credit director Kathryn Bigelow and the fine ensemble cast for effectively bringing this story to life.
The next time you’re tempted to make light of the power, persistence, and pervasiveness of beliefs, think about this picture. You just might find that changing your mind, while always possible, sometimes isn’t as easy as you might think.
A lifelong movie fan and longtime student of metaphysics, free-lance writer/editor Brent Marchant is the author of Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (Moment Point Press, www.momentpoint.com). His additional writing credits include contributions to beliefnet.com and to Divine Revolution and Reality Change magazines. Brent also maintains an ongoing blog about metaphysical cinema at www.getthepicturebrentmarchant.blogspot.com. He holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and resides in Chicago. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.