Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Allan Brown2
Zero Dark Thirty Review
Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty (2013)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal (screenplay)
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt
Plot: The account of the CIA’s 10 year manhunt for the al-Qaeda terrorist leader ‘Osama bin Laden’ from the September 11th 2001 attacks to his death on May 6th 2011.
The film Zero Dark Thirty has attracted its fair share of controversy since its announcement. It is a fact based account that chronicles the events of the CIA spanning over a decade leading up to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It marks the second outing since Hurt Locker on the subject for director ‘Kathryn Bigelow’ and although Zero Dark Thirty is a very different beast altogether, its touchy subject is ultimately handled with great care and balanced well by the cast and director. However, that’s not to say the movie is perfect, in fact, it’s far from it.
From the outset Zero Dark Thirty was never going to win over every critic and was always going to stir a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding its subject matter. This point ultimately begs the question; can you really expect to make a solid piece of entertainment about the tracking and killing ‘Osama Bin Laden’ and so soon after the event? I would say no. The studio and production would have been annihilated for glorifying the potentially inflammatory event. Therefore, we are left with a glossy, extremely well made, simulated documentary that lacks any real tension (aside from the last 20mins), suspense or even character development. The lack of these key elements leaves the film feeling somewhat lifeless, never particularly involving or even likeable.
Jessica Chastain takes the lead role which has awarded her a nomination from the academy in the category for best actress. However, Chastain was always a certainty for an Oscar nod; some would say she only had to turn up, as the film lends itself, due to its factual nature, in receiving the adoration of the Academy. Her performance, much like the movie, barely exists and only used to prop up and relay the events happening on screen to the audience. You will leave feeling you know her character as well as you know ‘Osama Bin Laden’s’
Summary: Zero Dark Thirty plays out as an episodic, over analytical and detailed 157 minute news-reel. Its fragmented ‘storyline’ devoid of any character development, emotion, involvement or even entertainment is ultimately an anti-cinematic experience that teaches you nothing you couldn’t have found yourself in 10mins on the internet.