Movie Review – Zero Dark Thirty

Zero_Dark_Thirty_posterOne woman’s determination to catch and kill Osama Bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty the latest from Kathrine Bigelow, spans from 9/11 till the moment OBL is killed. The film stars Jessica Chastain as Maya, a CIA agent who devotes her entire life to finding and catching him. It becomes and obsession for her. If i watched Homeland its probably similar to Claire Danes character. Maya goes from watching detainees tortured for information looking for that one bit of information to catch Osama. Dan (Jason Clarke) is the head guy at one of the torture camps. Kyle Chandler shows up in what looks like his wardrobe from Argo as the CIA head of the Pakistan unit Joseph Bradley. Maya spends some time clashing heads with Joseph. Dan takes her under his wing and gets her acclimated to the rest of the group. It takes a while but she finally bonds with the others Jack (Harold Perrineau) Jessica (Jennifer Ehle).

Maya has a one track mind. She works no other cases, ignoring leads that she feels won’t lead her to Osama. She’s focused and as we know her determination pays off. The drama is long and the action pretty much doesn’t exist till the actual compound breech. Maya has a few close calls, she’s having dinner with Jessica when the Marriott hotel bombing occurred. At one point when violence in Pakistan gets really back there’s an attempt on her life.

Jessica Chastain as Maya

There’s some predictable moments, Jessica’s meeting with a supposed doctor informant, years long leads that appear to be dead ends, The attacks in Saudi Arabia and the London bombings as her superiors want to make her switch focus. The shoe bomber is referenced, the closing of Guantanamo and the frequent US denial of torture methods all come up periodically. The key is to remember that this is a dramatization so there are many liberties taken here. I’m sure torture was used but I’m also not up in arms about it. The controversial waterboardng scene? Nobody raised an eyebrow at Denzel Washington getting waterboarded in Safehouse. People overreact sometimes and forget that at the end of the day its just a movie.

Its still a pretty damn good movie. Its a drama above all else, Chris Pratt doesn’t even show up till there’s 45 minutes left and the breech of the compound is after the 2 hour mark. You are still at the edge of your seat during the climax of the film. You know how it goes in fact since its loosely based if you follow the news you know when all the “shocking events” are going to take place there a title card with the date each time as they move thru the years. But even so that final moment when the helicopter crashes on the wall, when SEAL Team Six breaks in and look for Osama, you are just taken with the pacing of Zero Dark Thirty. It’s not rushed, it feels just right and you feel like the build up you watched was all just perfect. This movie was just everything. The ending you felt the drain along with the characters of a job completed. Its a weird sensation but the ending was exactly how it needed to be.

The SEAL Team is going in.

I give this movie a full price. Its long but its a great movie to see. Sure its not 100% accurate, that opp is not unclassified and probably wont be during my lifetime but it pieces together so much. Kathryn Bigelow hits another one out of the part here. I can see why Jessica Chastain has a best actress nomination for this.

Release date- January 11, 2013
Studio- Columbia Pictures
Director- Kathryn Bigelow
MPAA – R
Run-time – 157 minutes

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