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
“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.
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.
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.