Only eighteen months since the world’s most wanted terrorist was assassinated by the American army comes Zero Dark Thirty - an intense thriller centring around the stressful chase and final capture of Osama Bin Laden.
Brought to screens by Oscar-winning director, Katheryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and based on first-hand accounts of real life CIA agents, Zero Dark Thirty tells a compelling tale of anger, desperation and relief that intelligently deletes misconceptions and spells out the truth behind the incredible story of how justice was done when Bin Laden was killed in 2011. When making a movie surrounding such a sensitive topic, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal hit the nail hard on the head. The Hurt Locker captivated its audience because of its raw truth and tasteful storytelling of an elite army bomb squad unit in Iraq, and Zero Dark Thirty does a similar task.
There is no tiptoeing around the subject – in fact, many have said that the torture scenes (including the disturbingly truthful torture of Bin Laden’s nephew – Ammar (Reda Kateb)) bring the endorsement of America’s interrogation tactics to light. Bigelow and Boal team to create a movie that has all the panache of a Hollywood action thriller and all the integrity of a 9/11 documentary, leaving out all cliché speeches about ‘saving the world’, ‘fighting for your country’ or ‘getting revenge’.
What manages to inspire the audience all the same, is a strikingly poignant performance from Jessica Chastain. The tough-talking and hard-working Maya (based on CIA agent known as “Jen”) is determined to follow a lead she believes will bring the CIA to Bin Laden in Pakistan. Maya is resolute and resilient despite facing major setbacks from both her colleagues and the Pakistani army – becoming a number one target from members of Al Qaeda and various other parties within Pakistan. Although slow in parts and slightly too heavy for a Saturday afternoon, Zero Dark Thirty is a successful blockbuster guaranteed to get people talking.
There is always the fear that making a movie about something so important to our culture may glamorize the truth and try too hard to make big bucks, but with Bigelow and Boal, there is no fear at all. Incredibly made and beautifully told, Zero Dark Thirty is a film that members of every generation should see in order to recognise the bravery of the US in eliminating a man that caused uproar across the globe.
Starring Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt. Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Writer, Mark Boal