Zero Dark Thirty
other side of the world, itís easy to picture the United States
Intelligence community as being a giant, faceless conglomerate; a hydra
of data-mining programs and earth-scouring satellites that turned Bin
Laden out of his hiding place through sheer computational power. That
the goal was achieved through the nous of a small group of people, even
one person, is almost inconceivable. But thatís the surprising,
affecting and often desperate story of Zero Dark Thirty as told
by director Kathryn Bigelow.
movieís timeline spans more than a decade, from the trigger-happy period
following the invasion of Afghanistan to the more liberal and
conscientious times of the Obama administration. Part of the movieís
appeal is watching each of the characters respond to the change in the
political environment. Each goes through some kind of transformation,
with some being more catastrophic than others. The story is told through
a series of episodes, with each contributing to the greater narrative.
sound odd given the subject matter, but Bin Laden himself is
almost a non-event in this movie. He has no dialogue, and appears on
screen for a tiny few, partial appearances very late in the piece.
depicted as the elusive phantom, the bugbear, the splinter in the mindís
eye who haunts and taunts the characters through every moment of their
main character of Maya, played convincingly by Jessica Chastain, he is
the embodiment of obsession- not just the goal, but the entire reason
for her professional existence.
More so as
the movie progresses, Jessica Chastain is a force of nature on screen.
She becomes increasingly haggard and emotional during the movie, and her
transformation is the most harrowing-and captivating- to behold. Her
character is what drives the movie forward. One by one, each of her
doubters become casualties of one kind or another, leaving a trail of
bodies and ruined careers in her wake.
You get a
sense that the actors are relishing some powerful lines of dialogue,
although the best is -of course- saved for Maya herself.
Geared Up: A very cool and fan-boyish look at Zero
Dark Thirtyís arsenal of weapons, including the all-important
stealth helicopters which play a pivotal role in the movieís final
The Compound: Recounts the incredible re-construction
(digital and then physical) of Osama Bin Ladenís compound. The final
product matches exactly what weíve seen on the news countless times,
adding to the filmís authenticity.
Targetting Jessica Chastain: Jessica talks about what
drew her to the role of Maya, and how much it took out of her, both
physically and emotionally.
No Small Feat: A proper making-of feature. Kathryn
Bigelow and writer Mark Boal discuss story elements, and the
importance of making as authentic a film as possible.
than a mouthful of sand, Zero Dark Thirty is a stark,
warts-and-all portrayal of one of the most important events in our
recent history. Distressing for its depiction of torture, bleak and
realistic for its minimal musical score and handheld camera approach.
Neither politics nor heroics play a part here- itís a human story, and
it hits exactly the right emotional notes when it needs to.