Zero Dark Thirty
- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Genre: Documentary
- Cert: 15A
- Details: US/ 157 mins
It's no Navy SEALs. Although Arnie and Sly are trying to bring back that right wing flag-waving slant of the 80s, there's no escaping the fact that thrillers and action movies have been smarter than your average bear, post 9/11. Like Rendition and Green Zone before it, Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty pockets the full-on patriotism for a more complex take.
A steely Jessica Chastain is a CIA analyst chasing down the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden since 2003. Working from the untrustworthy information given up by tortured prisoners, Chastain works her way up the chain of al-Qaeda operatives and believes that everyone is wrong; he’s not hiding in a cave. However, with each terrorist attack - the 2005 London bombing, the Marriot hotel bombing of 2008 - the powers that be get itchy for results.
There has been a media furore over the torture scenes and more to the point the justification of the torture - the victims give up information that eventually lead to the 'possible' location of bin Laden. What's significant is Chastain's disgust with it - she can’t look when Clarke waterboards a prisoner - and Clarke's inability to deal with the job, asking to be re-assigned home. The tortured Ammar (a wonderful Reda Kateb) is not your average American hater either - he's a human that’s become dehumanised by the lengthy interrogation. The ends justify the means but at what price, the film asks.
The plot gets flabby in the middle and attention can wander. Mark Boal's (The Hurt Locker) script deliberately ignores any fleshing out of Chastain - she is her job; when an impressed James Gandolfini asks her what else she has been doing for the CIA, she says that this is all she does - the implication being her work and personal life. It's the reason why things slow down but it does have its eventual pay off as Bigelow’s last shot says more about her than any romance/family back home might have.
Bigelow cranks it back up for the final half hour with the assault on bin Laden's compound. Action fans, probably already disappointed with the talk-heavy two hours, aren’t treated to a gung-ho pay-off as Bigelow opts for tension and atmosphere over bullets and bodies. Playing out in what feels like real time, Bigelow's Call Of Duty-esque POV puts us right in the house with the marines and it’s exhilarating stuff.
Playing out like an in-depth police procedural thriller, Zero Dark Thirty is worthy of your time
Review by Gavin Burke | 15:45 | Friday 25th January 2013 | Movie Review
this is cool caint wait 4 the film navy seals so hard true herosPosted 07:50 | Thu 23rd Aug 2012
None of these heroes are happy about this film though. Watch the second clip here: http://www.heavy.com/news/2012/08/matt-bissonnette-top-10-facts-you-need-to-know/Posted 23:27 | Wed 16th Jan 2013
A spoiler-free review, excellent. I want the ending to be a surprise...Posted 13:16 | Wed 23rd Jan 2013
Hope to see this Friday night. Those Navy Seals are top class.Posted 16:29 | Wed 23rd Jan 2013
Whatever the politics, this is what cinema is all about: urgent, compulsive viewing that holds a mirror up to our troubled times. Outstanding film.Posted 14:43 | Sat 26th Jan 2013
Absolutely incredible !Posted 16:37 | Sat 26th Jan 2013
Hmmm, if you like Homeland then you won't go too far wrong here but it was slow and frankly quite tedious. Chastain is about the only thing worthwhile in it, the last 30mins aside. The torture scenes are no more graphic in nature than anything seen Rendition and pale in comparison to some of gore seen on the big screen lately. Want an American CIA Middle East movie then see the far far far superior Argo.Posted 20:16 | Mon 4th Feb 2013
Not sure about this film thought it was a bit far fetched . Wouldn't be running out to purchase itPosted 17:07 | Mon 4th Feb 2013
I cannot believe Zero Dark Thirty got four stars, it is without a doubt, in my opinion, the worst film of the year. Badly written, badly directed and the acting is just passable. Any film with lines like, 'do your f...king jobs, find me people to kill' automatically turns me off. Although I suppose the line, 'you don't want to be the last person with a dog collar in your hand' is kinda funny but I can't recall ever saying to my boss, 'I'm the one who found the motherf...er'. The likes of Rust and Bone didn't even get nominated for an Oscar and Zero Dark is up for Best Picture. Made me weep.....Posted 11:33 | Sat 9th Mar 2013
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