In an interview with Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, The Wrap‘s Steve Pond mentions the charge that her film doesn’t take a political point of view,” but then adds that “it seems clear to me that you have a pretty strong point of view…as you say, it’s a hellish situation and we have no business sending our men into it.”

To which Bigelow replies, “Well, that’s certainly my feeling. I’m a child of the ’60s, and I see war as hell and a real tragedy and completely dehumanizing. You know, those are some of the great themes of our time, and we made a real effort to portray the brutality and the futility of this conflict. I guess my feeling is that graphic portrayals of innocent children killed by bombs and soldiers incapable of surviving catastrophic explosions…I think that’s pretty clear. And then also, to add to that, the movie opens with a quote, ‘The rush to battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.’ So it’s definitely taking a very specific position.”

I’ve always thought that the adrenaline-rush aspect of The Hurt Locker — pretty much the central theme or through-line — is the same kind of charge that cops or mountain climbers or war photographers or journalists who cover wars from the front or firemen seem to thrive on. You can step back a few paces from The Hurt Locker and say “yep, that sure is a deplorable situation” that Sgt. James and the boys are in,” and you could call Bigelow’s depiction of their day-to-day situation “political,” but the strength of the film is that it’s so far inside the excitement in James’ head that thinking about the political aspect almost seems like a homework assignment. When I think of The Hurt Locker I think of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”