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Bigelow, Chastain Propel “Zero Dark Thirty”

I don’t pretend to know much, or care, about the Middle East. And typically, I’m not the first one in line for war movies (unless it’s a war on aliens or the Volturi). So how I ended up seeing “Zero Dark Thirty” is a mystery to me.

DARK-THIRTY-3 - ChastainKathryn Bigelow’s latest project tells the story of CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain) and her search for Osama bin Laden. The film starts on September 11, 2001 and ends in May 2011 when a Navy SEAL team kills the al-Qaeda terrorist leader.

Movies that are “based on a true story” I take with a grain of salt. Similar to my recent review of “The Impossible,” I don’t watch movies for historical accuracy, I watch to be entertained.

Was “Zero Dark Thirty” entertaining? No. But it was interesting; it definitely held my attention.

Bigelow likes to tackle big issues and she does them in a way that makes them more accessible to the general public. She makes them watchable.

This is helped greatly by the casting of Chastain as the main character. You’re on the search with her. Maya is smart, strong, and passionate. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the process.

I’m not sure why shaky-cam equals gritty and raw. In a chase scene, fine, but every scene is too much. When the characters are still, the camera should be still.

The movie is a little too long for me. It covers a decade worth of material, but at times it feels a little dry and you wish they’d pick up the pace.

In the last quarter of the movie, the SEAL team is introduced and brings a bit of fresh air that is greatly appreciated. Staying with Chastain, as talented as she is, is very tense and can be trying at times.

The team, led by Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton, add a touch of comedy. It lightens the mood just in time for the climax of the film.

I think “Zero Dark Thirty” is an important film, and it is a well-made film. Bigelow and Chastain tell a compelling story. I’m glad I saw it, but I never want to see it again.



  1. Pingback: Zero Dark Thirty Review: 50 Shades of Abu Ghraib | Rorschach Reviews - January 17, 2013

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