Film Reviews and Discussion.

The Digest. Short Review: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

zero dark thirty, jessica chastain, kathryn bigelow, joel edgerton, film, cinema, release, picture, osama bin laden, us army, movie, al queda


Dir: Kathryn Bigelow

Dur: 157 mins

(US) (2012)

Tracking the 10 year hunt for the poster boy and figurehead of Al Queda, Osama Bin Laden.

As the dust settles on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, Kathryn Bigelow has leapt out of the trap to release this film to chart the crusade to hunt him down post 9/11. In light of the speed of this release, it is likely to be the quickest reaction Hollywood has mustered to a real life event. It feels absorbingly current and relevant.

Much has been discussed about Kathryn’s depiction of torture and she has been labelled as a purveyor of pro-torture exercise. This runs contrary to the impression offered by the film. There is no glamour offered by the manner in which the camera lingers on the suffering faces of the interrogated. There is no humanity offered by the way the camera lights the face of the interrogators. There is nothing empathetic about the American team seeking news of what they already unwittingly possessed.

This review is late to the party. Therefore, what is there to add? Well, for a film where 99.99% of the audience will know how matters will play out, it is astonishing that Bigelow has managed to wrench such palpably exciting and heart racing dramatic tension for the final assault. To successfully pull that trick out of the bag is testament to someone who is in control of a film with the assuredness of a great.

On the downside, the performance of Jessica Chastain is not as rounded or compelling as that of Clare Danes’ Carrie in Homeland. Seeing as the root inspiration for both characters come from the same place, Chastain falls short and second best in that area.

As a photo snapshot of a moment in time, this is a vital document and one which will stand in the history books as cinema’s riposte to the decade of Bin Laden-terror. Don’t take 10 years to seek this one out.


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