The Hurt Locker

Musical Score By: Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The Hurt Locker is a film about the unsung heroes of the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad.  Centering around three elite EOD squad members charged with disarming roadside bombs on the streets of Baghdad, The Hurt Locker reveals the stress involved in such a dangerous assignment where there is very little margin for error.  In addition, these squad members must worry about insurgent attacks and the individual issues they have with one another.  Based on the observations of Mark Boal, a journalist and screenwriter who was embedded with a special bomb unit in Iraq, The Hurt Locker stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty.

            The musical score of The Hurt Locker was composed by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders.  Marco Beltrami is known for his unique approach to musical scoring thanks to his classical, rock and electronic sound background.  Beltrami has created musical scores for such successful films as Scream, Mimic, Resident Evil, Terminator 3, 3:10 to Yuma and Max Payne

            Buck Sanders was always interested in music, playing guitar in local rock bands until a stint at a local video store turned him on to musical scoring.  After becoming Beltrami’s assistant in 1997, the two have worked on several musical scores together, including Scream 2 and 3, Mimic and Max Payne.

            When I received the soundtrack for The Hurt Locker, I had never heard of the film.  Thus, I had no idea what sort of music to expect.  This, to me, is sometimes a good thing.  Receiving a soundtrack for a film you have never heard about can be fun as you attempt to discover the movie genre based upon the musical composition.  As I listened to The Hurt Locker Soundtrack, I couldn’t help but notice that the composers used a great deal of reverb and electronic sound (Beltrami’s trademark).  But after listening to it, I had the film pegged completely wrong.

            The musical score of this soundtrack is dramatically eerie, especially with the electronically enhanced and often reverberated vocal sounds.  There was a hint of exotic music presented very quickly…so quickly that the average listener is bound to miss it.  There is also a sense of intensity expressed as if something is hunting the characters in the film.  Thus, I had concluded that this film must be in the horror genre.  Boy, was I ever wrong, although most would consider some of the occurrences in war to be horrific. 

            Despite getting the genre wrong, I was right about the message the music was trying to convey.  The intensity is definitely a part of an EOD member’s job.  The sense of being hunted - well, I suppose you could equate that to the characters being hunted by demons…those of the insurgent kind and those of their own mental making.  The reverberated vocal sounds are definitely spooky and add to the intense danger involved in disarming roadside bombs.  The reverb is also reminiscent of echoes, possibly representing echoes of past bomb disasters that haunt the squad members memories.

            Either way, The Hurt Locker Soundtrack is a very dramatic musical score that is apt to send chills up and down your spine as you listen to it.  Spooky and intense, this is one soundtrack you don’t want to listen to with the lights off.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at