Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt

Director: Kathryn Bigelow


The factual quest to slay America’s biggest demon comes alive with the movie Zero Dark Thirty. The name with multiple references creates an air of dark secrecy. Ideally pointing fingers at the military code for ‘thirty minutes after midnight’, the movie chronicles the decade long manhunt for the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden in a span of 165 minutes.


The first half is a complete build up to the happenings in the last 25 minutes of the movie. The movie starts with a scene depicting the alleged torture of the detainees at the hands of the CIA agents, and ends with the visual identification of Osama’s body by a CIA agent. The use of Metallica songs in a lowly lit, shabby room to torture a detainee is note-worthy and is sure to elicit a reaction from die-hard followers of the death-metal band.


Liberally peppered with global bomb blasts, interviews and detainees, this movie is patient with the build-up it provides. A step-by-step account of how ‘they’ reached the villain, teamed with a time-line detailing the venue and year of the place makes it simpler for us to follow. 
More analytical than action oriented, the movie leaves us in awe of the American Intel agencies.


Short, yet eventful are a couple of metaphors that mark the approval that CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) receives for her mission to conduct a Special Forces raid on the hideout house of UBL. These also depict the camaraderie between the members of the S.E.A.L forces, making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Casting Taylor Kinney was a marvellous trick as it piqued the interests of the women in the house considerably.


Although, towards the end, CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) looks to be running without an army of supporters, that feels unreal. Depicting too much responsibility on her petite shoulders, it feels as if she is on a personal war against the terrorists that borders on dramatization.


Eliciting a few laughs, in the otherwise intense movie are the testosterone-filled chats among the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6. But what surely takes the cake is the slightly effeminate whisper that the S.E.A.L. uses to call out to ‘USAma’. This is done to bring him out of his hiding place, his bedroom to effectively riddle him with bullets. This is sure to make you laugh uncomfortably even as the end looms near.


With an action packed end, the movie will definitely keep you glued to the edge of your seats. Adding a slice of fascinating menace are the equipments used by the S.E.A.L members, their helicopter blast and the documents, hard drives and electronic gadgets found at the site. The usage of frightened young kids, crying within an inch of their lives puts in a touch of heart-wrenching drama.


All in all, a well executed movie by Kathryn Bigelow that will sate your curiosity towards the biggest underworld happening of 2011.

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