Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

From Kathyrn Bigelow, director of the critically acclaimed film “The Hurt Locker,” comes “Zero Dark Thirty,” a film that documents the search and pursuit of Osama Bin Laden. The most important thing for this movie is to know what to expect, as the movie has far less action than “The Hurt Locker.” Although the previews for the movie depict a high intensity, action packed thriller, these sequences are saved for the end of the film.

Just because there are less action sequences in “Zero Dark Thirty” does not make it a bad film. The build-up and pursuit of Bin Laden in the first two hours of the movie set a highly grave tone, which in turn amplifies the importance of the infamous manhunt. This setup also intensifies and enhances the final 30 minutes or so when the Navy SEALS are briefed and deployed into Bin Laden’s compound. The high tech gear and weaponry of the SEALS is something to be marveled, yet it also raises some important questions.

The viewer will likely wonder how much can actually be revealed surrounding this top-secret mission and what is actually true. The nature of the situation is quite enigmatic, and the everyday citizen cannot distinguish fact from fiction, especially in the depiction of a Hollywood movie. Although the movie contains real life events, like various unforgettable and heinous bombings in the Middle East, it is foolish to fully accept everything that is presented in the film. However, the behind-the-scenes look at the situation does provide illuminating insight to the high-stress work environment of government organizations such as the CIA.

Common criticism of the film pertains to the amount of time it takes to get to the action-packed end. Viewed from an analytical standpoint, the filmmakers used an extended amount of time to attempt to mimic the frustration and prolonged waiting associated with the hunt for Bin Laden. Interestingly enough after years of hunting, searching, and studying, Maya, the protagonist (Jessica Chastain ) is not fully relieved at the end of the film. She spent several years on one thing, and this goal engulfed every aspect of her life, even degrading her mental and physical health. However, the relief she was expecting did not necessarily come. Revenge is a prominent theme in the movie, and the ending is a clever commentary regarding the obsession over vengeance.

Surprisingly enough, the movie is more of an intellectual experience than that of pure action and violence. Some of the torture scenes are graphic and disturbing, but the goal of these scenes was to shed light on such atrocities. The best thing to do before this movie is to expect about two hours of setup (with the occasional explosion here and there.) After this, the viewers are rewarded with a stealthy and intense depiction of precise training and tactics orchestrated by the Navy SEALS—something everyone can enjoy. “Zero Dark Thirty” is rated R and should not be considered appropriate for younger audiences.



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