Sunday, 10 February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)


Quite frankly, I didn't even want to use you guys, with your dip and velcro and all your gear bullshit. I wanted to drop a bomb. But people didn't believe in this lead enough to drop a bomb. So they're using you guys as canaries. And, in theory, if Bin Laden isn't there, you can sneak away and no one will be the wiser. But Bin Laden is there. And you're going to kill him for me. 

So, I gotta give it to you straight. When it comes to films, I shall always be nothing but pure raw honesty. 'Zero Dark Thirty' exhausted me. Lest I be misunderstood, not because it wasn't good. No nothing of the sort. I shall be more explanatory.

Given the fact that Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Point Break) is not really my cup of tea, I went into this film rather biased. Not against it, but I was very cautious when I sat down to watch this film. 

Having soaring at the Academy Awards back in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow returns with another highly-packed war/political drama/thriller. This time, her muse is Jessica Chastain, who literally gives a kick-ass performance through the ashes and the dust of the Middle East.

The story line? The story is about Maya, a CIA operative whose first experience is in the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on the 11th September 2001. She is a reluctant participant in extreme duress applied to the detainees, but believes that the truth may only be obtained through such tactics. For several years, she is single-minded in her pursuit of leads to uncover the whereabouts of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is confident Bin Laden is where she says he is.

Let's start from Jessica Chaistain (The Help, The Tree of Life). Brilliant actress. Undoubtedly she did a fantastic job in this film. An extremely hard role to pull through, a role that really did show that she pushed herself to the limits to deliver. But deliver she did. The role of Maya, is quite intricate; socially withdrawn, obsessive, workaholic, persistent to find the truth but strong enough to kick ass when she needs to. She does not stop to catch the man responsible for so many global deaths, for her own peace of mind and to serve and protect her ethical duties. Jessica Chastain really outdid herself with this performance giving the role the humanity and the obsessive mannerisms needed to portray Maya.

In the two and a half hours of this film, Kathryn Bigelow guides her audience through a whole decade up until the capture of Bin Laden. It is a very torturous journey I will tell you this much. But a journey none the less. I cannot really describe this film as war or anti-wear because it is neither. What I can say is that this film is about psychological strength through the most inhuman political environments; war-zone. 

Considering Bigelow's previous film commendations, and having won the Best Director and Best Picture in the 2010 Academy Awards, we expect a lot out of this film. Although she does grant us an inside into Maya's obsessive and persistent nature, she does not really give us the satisfaction when she finally manages to achieve what she had been fighting for, for the past decade. The film slacks off somewhere in the middle, it drives a very slow up-hill mode and  does not give that high speed energy that one would expect. 

I cannot say it disappoints entirely, as it does speaks of a monumentous event in American history (at least) but its filmic pace is slow-beat and un-escalated. 

Cinematography rolls high with the camera viewing the war through soldiers' eyes and through unsteadiness. The war-zone is not even pleasing for the filmic iris, as it is raw, with little sentiment and lots of inhumane violence. 

Summing up, this is a strong film. It may not keep all viewers satisfied or enthusiastic enough, but it had a sizzling plot-line, by screen writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker, In the Valley of Elah) and an even more dynamic performances. Do give it a go if you're brave enough and you would like to get a slight insight on how the Bin Laden campaign went down. 

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