Tuesday, 27 October 2015

I've Just Seen: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)


Director: Kathryn Bigelow

I have found myself on a bit of a Jessica Chastain marathon of late; entirely unintentional but it is proving to be a treat. I've watched her in Take Shelter, this film, The Martian, Interstellar and Crimson Peak. Of them all, Zero Dark Thirty provides her with the most screen time, as it follows her character Maya's pursuit of Osama Bin Laden (or UBL as he is referred to in the film).

Chastain's performance is central to the film, and she is phenomenal. Her character has no other purpose in life than eliminating UBL; the few people she shares any moments of friendship with end up leaving or dead. The supporting cast are very good, particularly Jennifer Ehle as Maya's friend Jessica, and Jason Clarke.

The interplay of fact and fiction is woven together to create a story that places you in the emotions of those working to find UBL. I am less concerned with historical fact than if the story works, and its does here. I believed in the intensity of Maya's focus, and the pain and setbacks she experiences. Bigelow's direction is suited to the material; she has stepped back slightly to allow us to observe these people work. We a left to wonder about the choices they make; the infamous torture scenes a presented with little comment, and we are left to judge what they did.

A very solid film that takes us into the world of intelligence gathering, and presents us with the drive required in order to be successful, as well as the personal and emotional cost of such a journey. 


  1. The historical inaccuracies bother me in this movie--they're the only thing that bother me about it, but they do concern me. Movies have a way of "becoming" history, and the story being told here takes so much credit away from an entire team of people who worked for years to track down bin Laden and gives all of it to a single person.

    But I agree on Chastain--she's great.

    1. It is true that movies help create myths around certain historical events. I chose to see the film as a character study first, rather than as an historical document; but that is just me, and I can understand others taking this to be how the hunt for bin Laden was.

      I hope Hollywood don't suddenly realise Chastain's age and stop giving her roles, like they have with others: she has been good in everything I have seen her in. Of all of them I would say this is her best so far.