Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

The events of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten, but for many a small amount of healing occurred on May 2, 2011 when SEAL Team Six raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.   Kathryn Bigelow directs the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man.  Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow follow up on the success of "The Hurt Locker" with one of the most anticipated films of the year.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a procedural film on the same level as "Argo", but better.  The film begins with the audio from the victims of acts of terror including the events of 9/11 and cuts to Pakistan in 2003 with CIA operatives Dan (Jason Clarke) and Maya (Jessica Chastain) interrogating a Saudi terrorist.  By immediately addressing the controversial torture and interrogation methods used to obtain information the film it immerses the audience into something that is raw, immediate and visceral.  To leave it out would whitewash history. 

The film follows the career of Maya as she works to find Osama bin Laden and the challenges she encounters from her supervisors Joseph (Kyle Chandler), George (Mark Strong) and colleagues Jack (Harold Perrineau) and Jessica (Jennifer Ehle).  Maya investigates a lead for the next five years on a messenger, determined to use him to find Osama bin Laden.  She survives the 2008 Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing as well as an attack on her life by armed men.  Following her lead the CIA locates the messenger and a large suburban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden could be using as a hideout.  After being delayed by the politics of the decision regarding the accuracy of the information obtained the CIA Director, Leon Panetta (James Gandolfini) and the President give the approval to raid the compound.  Joel Edgerton and Chriss Pratt, members of The SEAL Team Six, follow the orders and history is what we know of it. 

The performances were amazing from everyone with Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke standing out the most and very deserving of a Best Actress and Supporting Actor nomination.  The directing and writing is not only the best of the year, but is amongst the best of all time.  There are so many actors involved with the film that there are too many to identify.  A few notable faces in the crowd include Mark Duplass, from "The League" and several films released this year, and John Barrowman, best known as Captain Jack Harkness from "Dr. Who" and "Torchwood", both working for the CIA.

The film puts you in the room with the men and women that experienced the events without being bogged down by headlines and facts. While the Middle East is foreign to the vast majority, Kathryn Bigelow finds a way to make it natural and familiar to the audience.  Without hesitating this is a 5 Quack film and after watching the movie I intend to listen to my Tony Robbins tapes because I have big plans for the new year.

Best line at the Golden Globes "I haven't paid much attention, but when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron."

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