2012 Movie Reviews: Zero Dark Thirty

Unknown-1On September 11, 2001, thousands of people died in the most tragic event that New York has ever seen. In 2011, they made a movie called Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close that showed the emotional aftermath of the tragedy. Then along came Zero Dark Thirty, to show us the practical aftermath to capture the man behind the attack, Osama Bin Laden.

We’re introduced to a woman named Maya (Jessica Chastain), who goes from being a rookie for the CIA to being an obsessed cop, determined to kill Bin Laden. But this is easier said than done, as no one has even seen the man for four years. Maya and her male colleagues discover that it’s going to be a battle of wits and force to complete the greatest manhunt in history.

At first, I was not terribly impressed with this movie. I thought that the movie was trying way too hard to function as a documentary rather than a three-act story. It almost makes me wonder why Bigelow didn’t just make a documentary herself, but hey. As the film goes on, it does manage to get you invested. This is mainly due to the fast paced editing and cleverly integrated sound mix. By far the best aspect of the movie is Jessica Chastain’s acting. Watching this woman practically dive into madness for the purpose of catching Bin Laden is amazing to watch. And, to be fair, there aren’t really that many torture scenes, so the controversy isn’t even that warranted. Although am I the only one who wondered how they managed to film those scenes without physically torturing the actors?

And then you’ve got your climax. Without giving anything away, (although I’m sure that most of you know it,) The final hunt to kill Bin Laden is supposed to be a very intense scene, but the simple fact that it’s so dark and you can barely make out what’s going on ruins the scene. It still does manage to hold you over until the very end. I think that the highlight of the film is the very last moment, so read into that what you will.

Overall, Zero Dark Thirty may not be a masterpiece, but it is an intense film that was well directed, well written, and well acted. It may not be the feel-good movie of the year, but when it comes to feel-good endings, what’s better than killing Bin Laden?

****

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