Horizon College of San Diego The Hurt Locker Basic Elements Analysis

Kathryn Bigelow’s 2009 film The Hurt Locker follows a U.S. Army bomb squad (Bravo Company) in Iraq as it counts down to the end of its mission.

Use the questions below to analyze how the basic elements, techniques, and strategies of editing contribute to the visual and story content of this scene: The Hurt Locker (4/9) Movie CLIP – We’re Done (2008) HD (Links to an external site.)


1 Elements of Editing

Isolate and observe the individual shots in this sequence.

What, if anything, do these individual shots mean on their own, independent of their context to previous and subsequent shots?

How does their meaning change in context with the other shots in the sequence?

How would you describe the rhythm or tempo of the sequence or of the film as a whole?

How does the editing contribute to this effect?

Do the filmmakers employ any alternatives to the cut, such as a fade, iris, or dissolve? If so, discuss how this effect works.

Can you discern any tonal or graphic relationships between the shots?

2 Continuity Editing

Is the editing style of the film invisible, or does it draw attention to itself?

Identify the master shot in the sequence. How does that shot establish the spatial relationships in the scene?

Find a sequence that includes a prolonged conversation. Observe and discuss how techniques such as the 180 degree rule and shot/reverse shot are used to capture the visual and narrative content of the scene.

Does the sequence include an eyeline match? How is this technique used to communicate story information?

3 Alternative Editing Styles

Does the film draw attention to the editing in any way, and if it does, how does this affect your reading of the scene and/or the film?

Does the film use jump cuts? How and why?

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