Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt
Review By: Griff
Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization of the 10 year man hunt to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. The movies real focus is on the story of Maya played by Jessica Chastain and her journey over the course of 10 years from wet behind the ears CIA agent to hardened veteran driven by by her obsession to get Bin Laden.
It begins with Maya being assigned to work with Dan (Jason Clarke) at the US embassy in Pakistan. Maya accompanies Dan while he interrogates (tortures) a prisoner named Ammar. Eventually Ammar is coerced into revealing the name of person believed to be a high ranking courier for Bin Laden named Abu Ahmed.
Maya spends the next five years trying to track down Ahmed. She is convinced that he is the link to finding Bin Laden. Eventually, they are able to track down Ahemds mother and Dan is able to make a deal to get her phone number. They begin tracing her phone and despite the fact that Ahmed is pretty clever about the use of his phone they are eventually able to ascertain his location.
The CIA monitors the location for several months and become convinced that either Bin Laden or some other very high ranking official is hiding there. They decided to raid the compound and send in two stealth helicopters full of Navy Seals to capture or kill Bin Laden.
Zero Dark thirty is an intriguing and engaging and at times difficult watch. The politics and events that led up to the discovery of Bin Laden’s location make for a fascinating and compelling story. The real reason to go see this movie however, is the amazing performance by Jessica Chastain. She devours her roll and it is one of the strongest performances I have seen all year. You can literally see the story of her journey written on her face. Similar to William James (Jeremy Renner) from the Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow focuses on a character study of someone obsessed with their job. So much so, that they sacrifice everything else.
Jason Clarke is standout in this movie as well, his embeds a subtle menace into his character that at times will give you the creeps. I don’t know if he has ever been better and he deserved an oscar nomination for his role.
Be forewarned that this movie focuses much more on the hunt and less on the actual raid. The raid itself takes up about 30 minutes of the movie but when it happens, it is an intense piece of cinema. Zero Dark Thirty is an excellent movie and it would have made my top ten if I saw it before I wrote up my list. It gets 3 guys from me.