First off, let me tell you something about the beginning of the film. Now what I am about to tell you isn't a spoiler or anything. In fact, consider this a warning. In the first hour of the film, there are several scenes that feature the brutality of torture. Now if this makes you at all squeamish, then you'd might want to skip this movie. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the film because of the allege pro-torture stance. This will divide the audience and as a result, some will say yes it does, others will disagree. Too be honest, I'm still on the fence about this topic myself.
However, controversy aside, Bigelow shows us once again just how talented she is as a director. While I thought it would hard to surpass her last film, the Academy Award winning film THE HURT LOCKER, she does the impossible and creates a stunning, tense, procedural drama that cannot be classified as an action thriller, a war film, or in this a war drama. Bigelow is one of the few directors that makes films for just sheer entertainment; her films go beyond the term genre and transcend into the realm of art. Like her previous film, Bigelow crafts this picture with precision, clarity, and structure with moments of humor to release the tensions that it builds.
Bigelow and her writer Mark Boal (a former journalist) were working on a screenplay that was about the Battle of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was once believed to be hiding. However, once the news broke the news broke that bin Laden had been killed, they immediately shelved that idea and started from scratch. Originally filmed as For God and Country, the title was changed to ZERO DARK THIRTY, which according to Bigelow means that, "it's a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission."
Actress Jessica Chastain did a fabulous job at portraying our main protagonist Maya. Head strong, confident, and resilient in her pursuit in locating the whereabouts of our antagonist Osama Bin Laden. Chastain appeared last year's THE TREE OF LIFE and THE HELP. Here she continues to play interesting, flawed, and relentless characters that are unique, thoughtful, and complex.
ZERO DARK THIRTY is one enriching, compelling, masterpiece of cinema that dares to be seen. Not for everyone's taste; it's slow pace builds up speed for the climatic ending; an ending we already know about. But in Bigelow's hands, this review found himself sitting on the edge of his seat. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!
ZERO DARK THIRTY is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Century Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://cinemark.com.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!