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One word kept appearing in reviews of The Hurt Locker: realism. In fact, as I observed in a Philadelphia Inquirer piece from last August, the incidents in the film are grossly unrealistic - as I know from having been a combat engineer myself and having embedded with a Navy-Marine EOD near Fallujah.Marines and Sailors of the 8th Engineer Support Battalion Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Camp Fallujah, with their bomb-blowing robots.
The most obvious explanation for what the reviewers perceived as realism is that they know no more about war, Iraq, or EOD than EOD technicians know about reviewing movies.
Nevertheless, if the shoot-'em-up; blow 'em up depictions were typically Hollywood, the movie did convey a sense of realism in its approach to the antagonists and in putting you into the movie. Clearly, it's the best film made about the Iraq war.