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Zero Dark Thirty (2012) Movie Review

September 2, 2013

More than any other movie, the reviews and impressions of others colored people’s impression of “Zero Dark Thirty.” Many said it was pro-torture propaganda, while others that it was one of the darker movie they had ever seen. This, combined with the trailers that I saw far too often in theaters made me wait for DVD to watch it. I enjoyed it enough that I almost wish I had gone to see it in theaters.

Though there is a bit of torture at the start, the majority of the film is a detective story as Maya (Jessica Chastain) follows the leads in her quest to find Osama Bin Laden. It all build up to a final 45 minute finale in which we watch the raid on the complex where he is believed to be staying. If you have seen the TV show 24 or other violent modern cinema, the violence level in this film won’t seem particularly out of place or heavy. The film certainly didn’t seem as dark as everyone made it sound.

Jessica Chastain is so awesome in her role as Maya that she truly does drive the film. Her character’s determination and drive kept me interested throughout. Other smaller characters were portrayed by similarly skilled actors, giving the rest of the film a solid believable feel. Alexandre Desplat’s dark score largely blends into the background though it occasionally rears its head in a few of the major scenes. It hits all the right notes and ultimately succeeds at staying in the background where it belongs.

If you enjoy military-themed films, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a powerfully directed film that captures the spirit of the military as they hunt for Osama Bin Laden. The film feels realistic and gritty, without becoming unbelievable or trite. I enjoyed it from start to finish despite the longer run-time.
4/5

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