It took me awhile to get excited about Zero Dark Thirty. I mean, what, Osama Bin Laden died a year and a half ago? It didn’t help that its original trailer was boring as crap (The second one was a lot better!). I was also a pretty big skeptic when I heard it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. How can I trust a movie about this subject so close to the actual event? There is no way that a lot of the actual information was declassified that quickly, given the subject. Unless of course, because she made The Hurt Locker, she clearly deserves the information and resources to make another war movie?
Just seems a bit unfair is all I am saying.
You know what else is unfair? Jobs that let you wear shorts. I want in on that racket! Fucking social norms.
The story begins a bit classier than I expected with the September 11th attacks. I was a bit worried they’d use that to help rile up the emotions, but it didn’t recreate the crash, show the fall, any of that. Just kept a blank screen and used real media outtakes to explain what happened. Okay, maybe that is still a cheap trick, but it could have been worse.
A few years after that, Maya (Jessica Chastain) has just arrived in Pakistan, after spending most of her career in the CIA so far working on Al-Qaeda intelligence. Her new partner is Dan (Jason Clarke), who she gets to meet during a nice torture session. Weee torture!
Long story short, Maya begins grasping at straws, trying to get a lead anywhere. She thinks she has found the name of Osama’s secret courier, but her boss (Kyle Chandler) isn’t having any of it. Well, it turns out she is right! Eventually she is able to figure out who he is, find him, find a nice Mansion/Fortress in Pakistan, and heat signatures show an extra man inside who NEVER leaves. I wonder who it could be!
Zero Dark Thirty of course also goes through the extraction of Osama, featuring such fine gentlemen in the Seal Team, like Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, and Taylor Kinney.
“Hey, let’s show mostly scenes of the actual take down of Osama! You know, a small minority of the movie!”
Let me break the movie down for you, with fractions! I would say that the first quarter of the movie deals with torture as a way of gaining information. Three eights after that involves slow, non torture means of getting what they want. Another quarter of the movie takes place after they find the fortress and deciding what to do and who is in there, with the last eighth involving the Seal Team and their assult.
That second part? I didn’t really like that part. It felt very slow and I almost fell asleep in my seat. But that leaves a pretty solid five eighths of the film, which is a lot better than most movies out there.
Unfortunately I am still left wondering how much of what I watched is accurate, and how much is just dramatic license in the greatest manhunt in modern history. The acting was decent, but didn’t feel like anything worth writing home about. Word on the street is that they are hoping to do a prequel to this movie, yet I have no idea what it would be about. Al-Qaeda before 2001? I don’t think that counts as a prequel, I think that is just a different movie.
But hey, at least it ends with the US coming out on top. That is the take home message, right? Right?!
3 out of 4.