Monday Movie Review–Zero Dark Thirty

I like movies almost as much as books, meaning I go often and movie popcorn is one of my favorite foods. Sometimes I go to the movies because I’m craving the popcorn. 🙂 My movie tastes tend to lean toward lighter movies, romantic comedies, occasionally suspense, rarely history or war movies, yet I was dying to see Zero Dark Thirty.zerodarkthirty

What drew my interest initially was that Jessica Chastain was starring. She blew me away in The Help and again in a very different role in The Debt. When I heard that the reviews were great and that the movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, I knew I had to see it.

It’s a long movie, but it never felt long as I was watching it. It reminded me a bit of Homeland on Showtime, one of my favorite shows. If you like that, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. What intrigued me about the story initially as well is that it’s largely true and based on a woman who never gave up pursuing all possible leads to find Osama Bin Ladin.

There’s been a lot of controversy about the torture scenes in this movie. Some say that it glorifies or condones torture. I didn’t see it as taking any kind of stand, it just felt like a part of the history that needed to be there.

I like puzzle movies like this, where they are gathering information bit by bit to connect the dots. It makes you feel like you are right there trying to figure it all out too. The ending where they show the Navy Seals getting into the strangest looking stealth aircraft and then following them through their mission was thrilling.

I’d recommend seeing this. The only thing I wish they’d given more of is background information on Jessica Chastain’s character. She’s a bit of a blank slate. All we know is that she joined the CIA right out of college and that she was recruited to do so. James Gandolfini, one of my favorite actors, plays the head of the investigation and there’s an interesting scene that felt unfinished to me or like a setup that never paid off. He asked her why she thought they recruited her and she simply answered, “I don’t think I’m allowed to answer that.”  I think the movie would have been more interesting and more satisfying if she had been allowed to answer. If we had a glimpse into what made her so driven.

I will be watching the Oscars with interest this year. I haven’t seen all the movies, but am rooting for this one as well as Argo.

What did you think?

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7 thoughts on “Monday Movie Review–Zero Dark Thirty

  1. The only thing I wish they’d given more of is background information on Jessica Chastain’s character. She’s a bit of a blank slate. All we know is that she joined the CIA right out of college and that she was recruited to do so. James Gandolfini, one of my favorite actors, plays the head of the investigation and there’s an interesting scene that felt unfinished to me or like a setup that never paid off. He asked her why she thought they recruited her and she simply answered, “I don’t think I’m allowed to answer that.” I think the movie would have been more interesting and more satisfying if she had been allowed to answer. If we had a glimpse into what made her so driven.

    I totally agree. I would have love to have known more about the main character. Other than that I felt the movie was decent. I went with my husband who I had made see Les Miz with me and had to watch me cry for 2/3rds of the movie. 😛

  2. Ultimately Zero Dark Thirty is a drama with some boom, that I thought was worth a one time viewing. The “thriller” aspects of it are in place if you like spy games, however, the runtime of the movie hindered the formula a little bit. It felt like a light brushing over of history and I personally cannot just let it lie as a movie when based on such current historical events. It did not pack in the entertainment value of Bigelow’s previous action film The Hurt Locker for me. On a scale of YAY, NAY, or OKAY I’d vote it was just okay.

  3. Yet, in attempting to show, in a mainstream movie, the reprehensibility of torture, and what was done in our name, the filmmakers seem to have conflated events, and in this they have generated a sore controversy: the chairs of two Senate committees have said that the information used to find bin Laden was not uncovered through waterboarding . Do such scenes hurt the movie? Not as art; they are expertly done, without flinching from the horror of the acts and without exploitation. But they damage the movie as an alleged authentic account. Bigelow and Boal – the team behind The Hurt Locker – want to claim the authority of fact and the freedom of fiction at the same time, and the contradiction mars an ambitious project.

  4. Just saw this with my wife. We both agreed that the torture scenes are a bit intense but milder than many action flicks and not as bad as some media portrayed. It made us discuss both the benefits of it and how bad it is at the same time. No over-dramatization of 911 or the military action. The movie is a bit long (my wife thought) but retained my interest all the way through. Seemed to show what would be intelligent reality in the pursuit of Bin Laden, extreme hard work by very intelligent and dedicated people. And intelligence by the terrorist.

  5. Yet, in attempting to show, in a mainstream movie, the reprehensibility of torture, and what was done in our name, the filmmakers seem to have conflated events, and in this they have generated a sore controversy: the chairs of two Senate committees have said that the information used to find bin Laden was not uncovered through waterboarding . Do such scenes hurt the movie? Not as art; they are expertly done, without flinching from the horror of the acts and without exploitation. But they damage the movie as an alleged authentic account. Bigelow and Boal – the team behind The Hurt Locker – want to claim the authority of fact and the freedom of fiction at the same time, and the contradiction mars an ambitious project.

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