After director Kathryn Bigelow made the successful Oscar-winning war drama The Hurt Locker, she made another succesful film in the same genre: Zero Dark Thirty. This time the film centers around the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks. The film was sometimes a bit messy and unclear. At some points I didn’t really understood who was who and why some things were done that way. Some events were obvious others were less predictable. The film took 157 minutes and sometimes it got a bit dull, tedious and I missed the tension The Hurt Locker had. The subject however does intrigues me but the extent to which this film is true, I don’t know.
The lead character Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a strong character who goes to Pakistan(?) to help find Osama Bin Laden. She has to deal with violent interrogations, bomb explosions, violence against Americans in Pakistan and loss of close acquaintances. In the beginning we see a glimpse of emotion but along the way Maya loses every emotion and only focuses on getting the job done. This makes Maya, in my opinion, a flat and empty character. However, in the final scene when the job is done, she finally shows her feelings towards the situation. This was really nicely portrayed and showed a form of relief that it’s over. In her quest to find Bin Laden she is sometime aggressive and constantly tries to get things to a higher level. But only because of Maya’s determination to find Bin Laden the mission actually gets to a higher level. I really liked to see Maya’s determination and persuasiveness. She was one of the few women in the mission and as being a woman myself I always love to see a women dominating men on the work-floor. It troubles me to see that it really took so long before the took action. I also thought the whole NSA organization looked messy.
The first scene, when Maya first attended an interrogation, was quite disturbing. We saw how Dan (Jason Clark) wanted to hear some answers and used very disturbing means to get them. I sometimes had the feeling that these Americans who did the interrogations only believed what they wanted to believe. A simple ‘I don’t know’ was for them I lie and a reason to ‘hurt’ them. These torture scenes were quite freaky and I really didn’t like to see it.
I said before that I found the film quite messy at some points. Mostly because I didn’t always understand who the captives were and what their connection was with Bin Laden. They (Maya and her team) used a lot of names but I never really know who they were and why they were after them. It really took a while for me to figure it out. The film gives us a sort of insight into what went on during this 10-year mission. But, of course, we can never be entirely sure that what we see actually happened. But how we get to see it, is very nice. Just like The Hurt Locker I really loved the camera work and it was very well portrayed. The alternating between dark and infrared images, during the most important operation, gave us a unique view on the mission. I almost felt like I was part of the mission, like they filmed it with a ‘Go Pro’ camera. But the actual kill on the other hand, was a bit blurry and disappointed.
It was quite funny to see some familiar faces in smaller roles: Kyle Chandler (Maya’s boss), Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini, Stephen Dillane, Chris Pratt, Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kinney, Callan Mulvey, Frank Grillo and John Barrowman. With all these names alone it’s a film worth watching! 🙂