Friday, 15 February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty movie review

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong
Direction: Kathryn Bigelow
Genre: Drama
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

Story: How one CIA agent tracked down Osama bin Laden and ended the largest manhunt in US history.

Review: When you first meet Maya (Chastain), she's a recruit fresh off the plane from Washington, stepping into one of the CIA's Black Sites where detainees are being interrogated (read: tortured) to give up the location of al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden. Her fellow officer Dan (Clarke) is persuasive and experienced enough to make the tough calls and wonders if Maya has what it takes. He needn't have worried.

By the time the Bush administration gives way to Obama's and Dan returns to Washington, she is doggedly pursuing any and every lead that can bring her closer to her target. Personal losses, two attacks on her life notwithstanding, she single-mindedly trudges on and on till the very end.

Jessica Chastain deserves to win every award she's nominated for this year. That's how good her performance in the film is. The supporting actors impress as well, and that's rare to see. Backed by a winning script by Mark Boal (who also wrote Bigelow's The Hurt Locker), Chastain strides through in a splendid role. Kathryn is the film's other star. Beginning the film in the dark with voices amplifying the terror that was 9/11, she matter-of-factly tells her story, in chapters which might just as well have been a visual dossier of the bin Laden killing, but is elevated by the human element.

However, overindulgence is what truly mars the effort. The film could've been much shorter. Clocking in at close to three hours, the film's premise is based on a series of events that spanned close to a decade, but the suspense is built, almost in real time, on slow-burn. It gives you the feeling of being there 'as it happens'. That's not always something your audience wants.

Note: You will not like this movie if scenes of torture and foul language disturb you.

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