Kathryn Bigelow is no new name for the Oscar awards. The director who doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects is back. After Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker,now she’s back with the another provocative story of decade long search for Osama Bin Laden. Already being talked about because of its torture scenes, the movie is getting rave reviews worldwide. Anti or Pro doesn’t matter, Zero Dark Thirty is a grim tale of the woman who led to Osama’s death.
It is a story of Maya (Jessica Chastain) who is a CIA targeter (based on a real agent still undercover). She arrives in Afghanistan as part of a team whose sole focus is to try and find Bin Laden following the 9/11 terror attacks. As the years pass Maya’s task gets tougher with other attacks and death of her friends. However, her determination leads up to info about Osama’s hideout. Zero Dark Thirty is a thriller that grips you firmly and quietly by the neck.
The movie is very episodic in nature like Bigelow’s last movie, but everything is executed with precision and realistic memesis. The film also give us a peek at the inner-workings of the CIA, particularly the politics of the decision-making process and how funding and resources are allocated. Apart from a screenplay by Mark Boal that reveals masterful technique, film score by Alexandre Desplat (performed by London Symphony Orchestra) evokes the right emotional currents critical to this film. Given the delicate subject it’s testament to Bigelow that at no point does the torture seem gratuitous or unnecessary. Bigelow presents this as old school, hard core males vs the intellectual, instinctive Maya.
“Zero Dark Thirty” sidesteps key questions. Maya sacrificed years of her life to the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Dan risks his humanity by making his living beating and humiliating other men. Men, women and children throughout the Muslim world, and, as the film makes clear, in America’s and Europe’s cities, are eager to blow themselves up, as long as they can take some infidels with them. Why? The film doesn’t even acknowledge that there are people out there asking the question, never mind attempting to suggest an answer.
Zero Dark Thirty deals with incredibly politicized topics. I am glad there was no back stories on the characters but the movie focussed on the hunt. The film asked the questions of what is right and wrong without putting its self as an anti-war film. Bigelow as a director has emerged from The Hurt Locker with a style that is distinct, yet subtle. Watch it if you can give time and it will build up nicely and grippingly. The film is long but its never draggy. Good story and direction with brilliant acting by Chastain.
Rating- 4 out of 5