Off from the success of their Academy Award winning film The Hurt Locker, Director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal reunite to present Zero Dark Thirty, a story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.
For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. What I loved about this film is how it firmly depicted the actual events like that of a documentary. Even though we already knew what transpired that time, the way Bigelow presented the film seems so epic and intense that all we have to do is to just stay glued to the screen and be amazed at the wonders of Bigelow’s filmmaking prowess.
The movie starts strong with a brief and dark-screened (you could only hear the voices) prologue of the event that started the hunt in the first place—the 9/11 terror attack. Then, set in an undisclosed camp called “Black Site,” CIA’s main man Dan (Jason Clarke) brutally attempts to get information about bin Laden from a captive named Ammar, while film’s protagonist Maya (Jessica Chastain) watches in the background. In the film’s lengthy first half and towards the climax, we get to witness how the CIA agents torture their key captives, give a generous and outright bribery, and track their potential lead through his mobile phone. Moviegoers must look passing through the pro-torture aspect of the movie for it only showed the guile, solid, and pure determination of the team to achieve their desired, hard-earned goal.
The final part of the movie—when the actual operations began and the squadron delicately and methodically worked their way through bin Laden’s compound—is a cinematic magnum opus that even though we almost see nothing because it happened, well, during Zero Dark Thirty (00:30 hours), you can feel the gripping tension percolating through their night-vision goggles.
Jessica Chastain is such an immensely brilliant actress and her work in this film as the CIA Analyst is her best one yet. It will not come as a surprise if she wins the Oscar for Best Actress this year, that is, if Jennifer Lawrence upsets her. The whole cast also did an absolutely tremendous, first-rate acting job.
In my book, Zero Dark Thirty is the perfection The Hurt Locker promised. Besides Ben Affleck’s Argo, I think this film is definitely one of the best films of 2012. I may still pick Argo as the better of the two. With all things considered, I think it’s an unquestionable shame for the Academy for snubbing Bigelow and Affleck.
5.0 out of 5 stars