Sunday, 21 April 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) – ★★★★

zero-dark-thirty-jessica-chastainDirector: Kathryn Bigelow
Writers: Mark Boal
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that Osama Bin Laden was the man behind the terrorist attack on 9/11. This is a movie that aims to reveal the long and arduous task that was to find and kill Bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty is absolutely brilliant. It’s so thrilling that I found myself forgetting to breathe at times. It is meticulously acted by the stellar Jessica Chastain, with brilliant supporting performances. The cinematography in this film rivals Bigelow’s masterpiece, ‘The Hurt Locker.’ I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, yet there were questions that weren’t answered.

The story is based around Maya (Jessica Chastain), and her quest to find Bin Laden. She’s a tough, intelligent, and stubborn CIA agent that stops at nothing to get information. She goes through tribulations such as: playing a hand in gruesome interrogations, surviving several assassination attempts from terrorists, and losing friends (her only friends). It’s her story for the first hour and a half, until we finally get to the ‘Storming of Bin Laden’s compound’ sequence. For the remainder of Zero Dark Thirty, the men who went in and killed Bin Laden are given the glory, with some of the most heart-stopping action sequences I’ve ever seen.

First off, I’m extremely pleased to see Bigelow had the balls to leave in the infamous ‘water-boarding’ torture scenes. There was much controversy over this being an inhumane use of interrogation, and this movie shows us why. It is excruciatingly ruthless through making the audience face what the people being interrogated went through. This includes being walked around like a dog, being locked up in tiny boxes, being sleep deprived through playing extremely loud heavy metal music, and of course being beaten to a pulp. It goes to show the efforts that the Americans went through to get their information, and shows at what cost it came. I didn’t enjoy these scenes one bit, but I can appreciate the effect it left on the tone of the movie. It created a sense of urgency, which is what was felt throughout the rest of the film.

The major problem I have with this film is the lack of information on the events which occurred after the compound was stormed. It would have been great to see what they did with his body, which is one of the foggiest details surrounding the incident. They say that he was given a traditional funeral, but I don’t believe that for a second. It’s just something I would have liked clarification on, which Boal unfortunately did not add to the screenplay. A minor problem I found with the film was that Maya is given all the glory of finding Bin Laden. I’m sure she had copious amounts of help from other people, but that did not serve the purpose of the movie (so it was omitted). So I was left a little disappointed, but overall it didn’t take too much of the enjoyment away.

Zero Dark Thirty is one of the most thrilling movies you will ever see. It’s almost as good as The Hurt Locker, but lacks a good portrayal of human characters, and most of all, a well-rounded story to go with it. I enjoyed it immensely, which is a direct result of Kathryn Bigelow’s ballsy move: to make it as realistic as possible.


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