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Group Communication in The Movie Hurt Locker

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Group communication affects several life aspects in our day to day actions, emotions and our thinking since at certain points of our lives we have to communicate as a group. Therefore, understanding the issues that arise from group communication is important especially with focus being on what such communication entails. Communication within any group involves both tasks and social components with major tasks including sharing of leadership in the process of accomplishing them, reasoning and in development of team dialogue in the processes of questioning and listening (Rozell and Gundersen, 2003). In the movie Hurt Locker, the life of a celebrated solder is depicted in the war is a drug slogan that comes from the solder who believes they have to take war as a drug at all their lives in order to survive. The main character James who is the main character but is always at loggerheads with his team of the other two solders, Eldridge and Sanborn is depicted as reckless and aggressive who at certain times fails to follow protocol despite being communicated to. In any group communicating to the difficult one is important to the success of the tasks they are carrying out and Hurt Locker has three types of people within the group that play various roles.

Sergeant James

The movie Sets up three solders with varying characters, James the main character who acts as Sergeant William James is depicted as reckless when he chooses not to put protective bomb suit and makes personal the whole process of defusing bombs which makes him be condemned by the other two soldiers who felt they needed to work based on protocol in order to make out of the war alive all of them. Communication is important during war situations, however as reckless as James is he removes his communication headset when Sanborn his command tries to give him directions. This act depicts James as a rebellious to the United States technology, creating a psychological problem to Sanborn as he thinks of killing James later but later fears he would have to deal with how not to do so later when the army starts studying his act, (Hurt Locker 2008).

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Sergeant Sanborn

Sanborn on his part is skilled and professional with his main character being his desire to follow what should be done a total opposite of James. He follows what should be done, and this makes him pick trouble with James severally with his believe being when they follow procedures they will all make to go home. This does not mean Sanborn is weak or a coward but a realistic who despite differing with James later becomes attracted to James since they share same aspirations despite varying courage and commitment, (Hurt Locker 2008).

Sergeant Eldridge

Sergeant Eldridge seems to have health issues within the course of the movie with this arising when he regrets of not having prevented the improvised Explosive Device attack. Further this is highlighted when the doctor is killed which makes him start to replay events within his mind. Thus, he shows some cowardly acts contrary to the rest of the two in the group who are brave. He panics when faced with a killing situation like that of an insurgent and despite his kidnap before James rescuing him he continues to depict these characteristics. He has to go home when he gets wounded in the course of the warfare something that makes him relieved but turns his anger towards his leader Sergeant James, (Hurt Locker 2008).

Features, Roles and Leadership of the Group

Throughout the movie Hurt Locker, lack of common leadership in performance of same tasks is highlighted. Lumsden, Lumsden and Wiethoff (2009) stipulate that for any team to succeed together, they ought to have ability to obtain information, explore it, analyze and make decision together. These include talking and sharing in order for the group to achieve the set target while it creates a team work atmosphere. In the movie, James who takes over as the leader after death of their leader Sergeant Thompson dies, is not a team player and even disconnects communication gadgets when sergeant Sanborn tries to direct him during the process of detonating a bomb. The role of each group member is clearly depicted as they divide tasks, with sergeant Sanborn and Eldridge being supposed to provide cover, ensure rooftops and hiding places are clear and help James to wear or remove protective clothing. Nonetheless, James does fail to show leadership by turning down Sanborn and even removing protective suit on his own.

Another important small group characteristic shown in the movie is logically reasoning and instead of having common ground each acts individually, (Verba 2015). James when receiving directions from Sanborn decides to disengage them and without reasoning of the threat of insurgents who could hide around corners or on alleyways, he fails to reason of kind of exposure to death he was putting himself. Further unreasoning of James is shown when he removes his protective suit in the process of defusing a car bomb making Sanborn angry. On his part Sanborn is shown to follow protocol and uses critical analysis of any situation before acting creating a kind of conflict between the two that leads him to contemplate killing James.

More so, the movie showed small group communication issue of listening and asking questions which allows feedback thus leading to negotiations, (Jaques 2003). Arguments and miscommunication are common where listening and questioning is not done (Lumsden, Lumsden and Wiethoff, 2009). James throughout the movie seems to avoid listening and often engages in interruptions which angers Sanborn and Eldridge which makes dialogue difficult for them. However, Sanborn later comes to understand James as a person who views war as a drug hence his actions. Certain members of a group can act as blockers or distractors through lack of concentration and in other cases due to cowardly acts, (Fujishin, 2007). One such in the movie is Sergeant Eldridge who panics when faced with a killing situation which leads him to being kidnapped in the process. The rest of the two showed great composure and acted soberly something Sergeant Eldridge did not have and often lived thinking of how he can stay alive since he felt death was always close to him. His fear of death even leads him out of the war before it ends in reality after Will shoots him on the leg forcing his withdraw from the war torn country. Despite this, he is aggrieved at this situation but at least he leaves the war alive just like his two colleagues Sergeant James and Sergeant Sanborn but the two have to finish the war first.


A number of conflicts arise within the context of the movie with the first being evident at the beginning of the movie when the previous leader Sergeant Thompson dies in unexpected explosion and James has to lead the team. His experience in war makes him have conflicts with the rest due to his aggressive and lack of following protocol nature. Despite these solders seeing him as reckless as a leader he leads from front and his spontaneity enables them to reach the end. Additionally, a conflict arises between James and Sanborn when following people suspected of exploding a petrol tanker. Based on Sanborn, that work should have been left to platoons within the locality but eventually James is able to convince him, (Hurt Locker 2008).

Once more, James and the rest have to deal with a confrontation from mercenaries who engaged them in a fight but eventually they are able to kill them after a long exchange of fire. In another instance, James and his colleagues agree to go to a desert and plant explosives, nevertheless, James is forced to go back there after he forgets his gloves. Sanborn contemplates exploding the explosives and killing James something Sergeant Eldridge does not agree. This creates tension between the two as they argue about the situation but later Sergeant Sanborn agrees not to since he felt that the killing could lead to the event being used as army study situation later in life.


Group communication is important in almost everyday life situation and it arises from various environments may it be at work place, home or school. Disagreements are bound to occur when decisions have to be made in small groups and it’s only through effective communication that such disagreements can be solved. Several tools of communication exists that help in minimizing disagreements and include ensuring leadership is shared among members of the group, having logical reasoning together, ensuring dialogue is given priority when conflicts arise, through questioning and listening without interruptions. In addition, the success of any group depends on the success of each individual and only positive communication can lead to success of each team member. The movie hurt Locker shows how war is a drug through the main character James who despite taking part in many wars in the past he still wants more of it. James is totally opposite in character with the other two solders Sergeant Sanborn and Sergeant Eldridge and shows poor leadership skills among the three. He fails to follow protocol like Sergeant Sanborn suggests and shows lack of reasoning when he removes protective suit when detonating a bomb. Additionally, in other instances he does not want communication from Sanborn and he disengages the communication devices. His actions angers Sanborn who at some point contemplates killing James.

Conflicts within the movie arise and are solved through numerous ways, Sergeant James faces conflict when his predecessor Sergeant Thompson dies from an explosion and has to be the leader of the team which does not want him. However, he later convinces them and leads them to the end. Other conflicts include Sanborn and James, when the latter feels they should not follow suspects of a petrol oil tanker explosion, nonetheless, James uses his conviction tactics and convinces him why they should follow it. In addition, a conflict arises when mercenaries attack James and his convoy, they exchange fire and only through killing the conflict is ended as the mercenaries are all killed by James and the Solders. Lastly when Sanborn contemplates killing James he finds himself in a conflict with Sergeant Eldridge. He is forced to withdraw the thought as Eldridge does not feel happy about the whole thought.


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