Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

14 Jan

The last film for me to see during this year’s awards season was Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. After being a huge fan her previous best-picture winning war film The Hurt Locker, I had high expectations for this new thriller about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Most of them were fulfilled.

The film starts moments after the horrific events of 9/11 have taken place. The United States are in a state of shock and anger; the term “terrorism” has now established itself with being synonymous with the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Jihad.  We are introduced to the film’s protagonist, Maya (played by the lovely Jessica Chastain), a new CIA recruit fresh out of high school who has been assigned to work with the interrogation of Al Qaeda members. Zero Dark Thirty revolves around this character as she tries to put together the complicated puzzle piece that eventually leads the US to Bin Laden.

Chastain plays a complicated and fierce female character who drives most of the plot.  Her performance, along with Bigelow’s understanding of the complicated story material, are what make Zero Dark Thirty a heavyweight contender for this years Best Picture Oscar.

While the film never quite reaches the suspenseful and emotional highs The Hurt Locker does, it is a very well-asembled and uncomfortably realistic film.  Like The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty is not geared towards the mainstream movie-going American audience of today.  There is nothing romanticized or sugar-coated about her depictions of conflict and torture, and most of the dialogue and high-level political speak will go above and beyond the average viewer’s comprehension (unless, of course you are a hardcore political or history junkie). Bigelow and her team went to great lengths to research and write-in the factual events the film is based off of, and regardless of weather or not the “facts” in the movie happened the way we see them, they still have a very prominent emotional impact on the viewer.

Despite the amount of international controversy a film like this could cause, Zero Dark Thirty stands out among other war films for it’s brutal realism and knock-out performances.  I’m hedging my bets on Chastain for this year’s Academy Award for Best Actress.

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rating 7/10 

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One Response to “Zero Dark Thirty (2012)”

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  1. Bigelow, Chastain Propel “Zero Dark Thirty” « i'm a movie nerd - January 15, 2013

    […] Zero Dark Thirty (2012) (ajourneythroughcinema.wordpress.com) […]

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