In the running for Oscar gold, this latest film by Kathryn Bigelow will have people talking . Zero Dark Thirty is about the near-decade long hunt for UBL (Usama bin Laden). The film follows Jessica Chastain who plays Maya, a CIA op who is hellbent on finding UBL. The film is littered with controversial scenes but I’m not here to talk to you about how these scenes are controversial, nor am I here to picket the film because of the scenes of torture. Like I’ve said before, I’m just here to tell you if the movie is worth watching. Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) is a terrific film to watch.
The film opens up with the titles ‘September 11th, 2001’ and then cuts to black. The audio recordings of 911 calls clammer together to show us how intense that day was. Though there wasn’t any visuals, the sound of terror from the victims involved and the authority were enough to make my hair stand up on end. It was reminiscent to 2001: A SPace Odyssey, where the first three minutes of that film represent Earth during the Big Bang. Here for ZDT it’s used to show how the Al Quada Big Bang. It sets up the movie by just reminding you what happened twelve years ago.
The film itself didn’t feel like a whole movie, rather vignettes following Maya through her ten years. I liked that about the film. It wasn’t struggling to take us from one part of her life to another, we only saw the important parts of her journey. We see Maya going through this change of a milky white op who shakes and turns an eye to torture but becomes more involved in the act as the years go by. You feel her anxiousness; give credit to the editing team for that. Also, the film should’ve been nominated for sound mixing. Sound editing is deserved but I felt the mixing was natural.
The film is two hours and thirty-seven minutes, with the first two hours nothing but straight talking. That isn’t a problem because the dialog is filed with such intensity that each conversation is like a gun fight. The actors tone replicates the intensity of the blowback of a gun so no dialog is ever boring, but engaging.
The final half-hour is the actual raid. That sequence is awesome and feels authentic. The film states that the events that occur in this film are based on first hand accounts and nothing else but this last sequence is a truer testament to that. It feels authentic, from the news that came out a year ago. I knew what was going to happen yet I still jumped from the sounds of loud guns. They handle the killing UBL with respect, never showing his face. I liked that about the film.
Chastain in great and imprints that impression that she’s struggling to find an answer. I also liked Mark Strong who is great in ever film he’s in.
Zero Dark Thirty is a film that is filled with controversy and will buzz that it could Best Picture. It’s a film with vignettes of small events that come together to make up a full movie. It’s a film that needs to be seen in theaters for the action and a movie that needs to be seen now because it’s great.