Friday, January 18, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty - Movie Review

Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez, Harold Perrineau and Stephen Dillane.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.


The ultimate procedural.

This movie offers a straight-forward account of a chain of events that culminates in the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Not much is said of Bush or Cheney or Obama.  When we meet Leon Panetta, he's never called by his name. James Gandolfini is simply credited as "the CIA Director."  This is about the boots on the ground and the middle-management above them.  And pushing it all is the single dogged determination of Maya (Jessica Chastain).

We don't get any backstory on Maya.  She just shows up at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, where the story begins.  We see some harsh interrogation techniques being used against a detainee.  There's no grand Sharpee to highlight how effective or ineffective torturing is/was.  It's something that happened.  Maybe bin Laden would have been caught five years earlier or never had torture never happened; we'll never know.

Chastain's central performance of Maya is crucial and captivating.  We want her to catch "UBL" as much as she does.  I marveled over and over at the different cuts, angles and subtleties of Bigelow's direction, too.  Absolute crime she was snubbed for a Best Director nom for this.

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