Thursday, December 20, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is a haunting and often riveting film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Like her film The Hurt Locker, this is the story of obsession; here that of a CIA heroine, who won’t let the politics or laziness of her colleagues get in her way in tracking down the face of al-Qaeda.
The film moves like a detective story as Maya, played by the superb Jessica Chastain, puts together the elusive pieces that lead to Bin Laden’s hideaway.  However, as has been brought out by many film and real-life detectives, their work is often tedious.  And, to set up the explosive and not-to-be-missed last half hour of Zero Dark Thirty, we have to go through, with Maya, a long process of discovery. 

Thanks to Jessica Chastain (who may give Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Lining Playbook a challenge for the Oscar) and the film’s editors William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor, this discovery process is never boring, but it is long.  That is somewhat of a script problem, but it is mostly that Director Kathryn Bigelow has set too high a bar for herself with The Hurt Locker, where we were provided with several shocking moments very early on.  Here, we had to wait perhaps 45 minutes to an hour for the first jump-out-of-your-seat moment. (Viewers actually did.)  But, to be fair, the last half hour might not have been so impactful, if we had not been led through the peeling of the onion to get there.

Much is being made (mostly by little old ladies of both sexes in D.C., who haven’t even seen the film) about the torture scenes in the beginning of the film.  But, if you’ve seen any of the “Bourne” films or even several starring Bruce Willis or many other action heroes, those of Zero Dark Thirty are not any more graphic.  And, the filmmakers are not, in any way, making a pro or even a con statement about effectiveness; just presenting what happened.  Indeed, the interrogators, ultimately, end up finding out more from trickery than from torture.
I don’t think Zero Dark Thirty is the best film of the year, but it may be the most controversial.  I give it a 4+ out of 5; Jessica Chastain a 5 for her performance.

And, God bless Seal Team 6 for their work.  They do get a 6.



No comments:

Post a Comment