Just saw Zero Dark Thirty, its a thriller about the decade long search/hunt for Osama bin Laden. It’s Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal teaming up for another military style film, since their award winning The Hurt Locker.
The good; it’s intense, and feels like a documentary more than a film. Maybe docudrama is more of an accurate description. I enjoy the gritty quality that’s carried over from The Hurt Locker, this isn’t a war movie, it’s a thriller about the new age of terrorism and how wars are fought.
I really felt the frustration of Maya as she devotes her life to finding her target. That was a pleasant surprise to have Maya as the main character.
The script is broken up like a Tarantino movie, there are chapters marking each step of the movie, this part makes it feel like a documentary.
Zero Dark Thirty is a calliope of actors, they just pop out of the wood work. Have fun spotting them all.
At the climax of the movie we actually shift character focus, where Maya was our main character, we’re now with the SEALs as they conduct their “jobs”, and it works unlike Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
The bad; this movie is a thriller and not an action movie, I think people will come in to the theatres expecting The Hurt Locker or Saving Private Ryan. Be warned, this is more about the foot work that led to locating bin Laden.
Also… is this movie “too soon?” The film is super dark, and that’s probably how it was in real life, it feels that after 9/11 there were just attacks and bombings with no real “victory.” The heavy tone remains throughout, I don’t think the mass public is ready for that. With that consistency weighing on the audience, there’s no real arc, with peaks and valleys of emotions, which is why this feels more like a docudrama than a film.
Overall, very intense and heavy. It’s also a great commentary on how the changing in Presidency had an effect on how intel gathering was conducted. We went from torturing to more solid leads and detective work, I just find that amazing, and then I also think back to the night when it was on the news that bin Laden had been killed.
President Obama didn’t want the US torturing captives for information, which in the movie felt counter productive to making progress, but in the end it seemed to help them gain solid leads on where they should strike.
*SPOILER* (possibly) I also have to point out the end where we shift focus to the SEAL team, it really showed how they work, and that they’re a finely tuned machine with what they have to do. For those of you expecting a massive shoot out, you won’t get that here, it’s about tactics and precision, and the way the scenes are shot with low lighting situations coupled with night vision was amazing. I felt the closeness of the house as they cleared each room as well as the unknown of being in the dark. And in the end it really showed how any one of the operatives could’ve shot bin Laden, to them he was just another hostile in a complex.