Brian’s Review – “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012)


What’s it About?

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

10 out of 10

By Brian

“Zero Dark Thirty” is not just my pick for the best film of 2012 but for the last several. It’s a towering, suspenseful, smart, well acted, and action filled masterpiece from start to finish. Rarely do I insist you see a film but this one falls under that high a recommendation. Kathryn Bigelow has achieved something really special here. We all know the ending and yet I was in complete suspense for a running time of almost 3 hours. The attention to detail leads to a level of believability that is rarely captured on celluloid.

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Recently, I watched a movie called End of Watch which was about 2 cops recording their actions on the job to create a pseudo-documentary feel. The purpose was to create a verisimilitude; a sense that we were watching reality. It didn’t work for me because the over top effort to falsely create that mood worked against its sole intent. Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t require such a gimmick because it took the time to get the facts straight and recreate the scenes through proper research.

It all pays off because it has that rare ability to draw you in as a viewer and make you feel like part of the experience. I wasn’t watching a CIA operative research the clues. I was riding along in the car with her. I wasn’t feeling the sense that I already knew the ending. I felt like I was discovering the story for the first time as the characters did. And, I didn’t watch a group of Nave Seals invade the compound, I was standing right next to them.

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Only the rare and special movie going experience has that quality and all participants involved should be proud of their work here. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that terrific acting, particularly by Jessica Chastain. Her intelligence and emotions are always portrayed realistically without over dramatizing situations that hardly need embellishment. She comes across as smart, tough, and vulnerable.

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  1. Good review Brian. Very tense, even when it was just two people talking on screen. However, that didn’t matter to me and in fact, that’s probably what was so great about it to begin with.

    • I have yet to see it myself and I had heard the very same things about it as well which has put me off of actually watching it.

      Thanks for checking in and reading Brian’s review. I appreciate it!

      • I’m only sorry I didn’t read it sooner. I’m updating my own reviews with a new and improved grading scale which is taking forever which has bottlenecked the rest of my life. I think it will be worth it in the end though.

      • Really? Cool! I’ll be sure to head on over and check out your stuff. I know what you mean about bottle-necking, lol. Been there.

        Running a blog and supplying content is no easy feat. I have to remind myself sometimes it’s just a hobby and not a full time job and career 🙂

      • I’m a journalism major so my blog is like an online portfolio of sorts. It’s not a job, no, I have a lot of fun doing it so I don’t look at it that way, but it does require some time and effort and I’m okay with that. Once I’m finished updating everything, I shouldn’t have to do large scale maintenance for a long time.

      • Journalism! Cool. Good luck! Very ambitious field and that’s good that you have fun writing and maintaining your blog. I do as well and I love all of the great feedback that I get.

        Running your blog is a great way to hone your craft and get potential employers in the future to look at your stuff. Well done.

      • That’s the plan. We’ll see if it works. I don’t know if you got the chance to read my year one of wordsofwistim post, but in it I briefly talked about how I’ve really seen an improvement with my writing. I can see the change and it makes me happy.

      • I’ll head over now and check it out. Isn’t it cool when you and others see an improvement with the writing? It definitely makes you feel good. Over time your command of words and prose improves. You then make a real connection with your readers. It’s it a good feeling indeed.

  2. Believe it or not….I’ve never seen this. I know, I know….horrible movie buff! That poster is bad-ass though….I really should. My love for cool posters is crazy.

    • Oh yeah, I love cool posters, too. Don’t feel bad but I haven’t seen this one, either. I may watch The Hurt Locker first before this one. I have heard that ZD30 could be a tad slow in places but, damn, the movie gets such high praise.

      Thanks for checking in and reading Bri’s review. It has been great seeing you hanging out a bit on my page today! 🙂

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