Zero Dark Thirty (2012) [400+]

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

“Devastatingly real.”

GRADE: 5/5

by Richard Rey

             September 11, 2001: An overture of cries and feeble pleads erupts over the pitch black screen: each voice demanding our attention, each sob sinking us deeper into the stark, shocking reality of the most terrifying historical event in contemporary American history: the bombing of the World Trade Centers. Solemnity washes over us and we feel that lump in our throat indicating this could be the most significant, truthful piece of its time. Following the events of 9/11 is this shocking portrayal of our manhunt for the terrorist ringleader Osama bin Laden.

Zero Dark Thirty boldly immerses us in the thrilling decade long manhunt for the 9/11 terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Led by the impeccable Academy-nominated Jessica Chastain (The Help) as Maya, the historic-drama offers a behind-the-scenes look into the gritty underbelly of the CIA including spine-chilling, controversial footage of torture techniques used by the U.S. in remote military camps of the middle-east. Maya’s super-objective is cold and clear: find and kill Osama bin Laden.

With a near-perfect script written by Mark Boal and a winning ensemble featuring Jason Clark, Joel Edgerton and Kyle Chandler, Bigelow meticulously propels us forward frame by frame, moment by moment, with the tact and vigilance of a sniper. Her keen eye for capturing contemporary life is unprecedented. Each scene is central, each character imperative, and each word vital. Vital to what? The honest-to-God uncensored depiction of an obsessed covert ops force led by a relentless, shit-or-get-off-the-pot Lysistrata willing to go to absolutely any length to quench her nearly insatiable need for justice and peace of mind in the assassination of the Al-Qaeda commander.

The film is not performed – it is lived. An edge-of-your seat nail-biter that is simultaneously unsettling and fulfilling: a true master of its craft containing little artifice but tremendous depth.  Zero Dark Thirty, like United-93, needs no critique because it speaks for itself. Now… who among you is willing to listen?


Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clark

Written By: Mark Boal

Runtime: 157 min

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language

*Writers Note: Due to the politics surrounding the films torture scenes in which members of the Academy such as Martin Sheen rallied against the release/screening of Zero Dark Thirty, the film (in my view) was shunned of Oscar-nominations it deserved, namely that of Bigelow as Best Director.


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