Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty Reveals Osama bin Laden Search


Zero Dark Thirty is a disturbing and enlightening film. It’s disturbing because it shows the lengths the U.S. goes to in order to hunt down its enemies. It’s enlightening because it shows the lengths the U.S. goes to in order to hunt down its enemies.

The opening sequence of the film sets the tone for the film. It opens with a water- boarding sequence that is so emotional the audience will feel like it’s drowning.

Dan (Jason Clarke) is the person inflicting pain on the starved and naked captive in order to get information.  He’s truly scary when he says, “When you lie to me, I hurt you.” 


Actually the character of Dan is both menacing and kind – offering food when he’s not torturing his prisoner.  The scenes between the two are incredibly intense because you never know when Dan is going to turn.

Zero Dark Thirty is Kathryn Bigelow’s (The Hurt Locker) re-creation of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. It’s so well done and in your face with reality – that it’s frighteningly authentic and revealing.

Who knew there was a woman in charge of the hunt for the most hated man in the world. Maya played impressively by Jessica Chastain is the young CIA analyst put in charge of an impossible task. The movie is told through the eyes of Maya, who, up until recently, was a little-known participant in the intel hunt.

Eventually the captive gives up a name: Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, whom he claims works as a courier for bin Laden.

The search begins. Maya takes the name and literally runs with hit. She is a dogged advocate for capturing bin Laden. She becomes quite obsessive and focused on figuring out just where he could be hiding. 

 JESSICA CHASTAIN is Maya in Zero Dark Thirty

Of course, things don’t go as expected. Information keeps changing, which throws a wrench or two or three into Maya’s efforts.  But that does not deter her. Au contraire.  It makes her more focused and determined. If Chastain is truly playing Maya, this woman is incredibly impressive and deserves every honor the government can and should give her.

“I had three months to get ready for the film before shooting,” said Chastain regarding preparing for the movie. “I went to school, asked questions and read books. I was never able to meet the real undercover agent. I had to fill in the blanks.”

Bigelow was intrigued when she found out there was a woman at the helm of the investigation of and search for bin Laden.

"If the character at the center of that hunt had been a man, I would have been interested as well," said Bigelow. "She is defined by her actions. It was an exciting time. I was thrilled and excited about it being a woman." 

While it is a movie and, of course, some creative license was taken, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal say all the characters are authentic.

“All the characters are based on real people, but the people are restructured,” said Boal.


In discussing the film’s reality, Bigelow said: “The Department of Defense didn’t vet the screenplay. Had we gone down that road, we would have.”

Bigelow wanted to do the film because she thought the story was “riveting.”

“The story gave us a glimpse of the intelligence on the ground and hunting the most wanted man in the world,” said Bigelow. “The price they paid and some of the colleagues who didn’t survive.”

Bigelow knows how to capture intensity on film. In fact, it’s so palpable, you can feel your heartbeat coming out of your chest.

Her staging of the deadly raid on the compound is edge-of-your-seat drama.

It’s enlightening to witness how the Navy SEALS go about their work, doing their duty with such prowess, expertise and bravery.

Kudos to everyone involved in this film.

Zero Dark Thirty is thrilling, overwhelming and tensely action-packed.

Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Oscar® winning director Kathryn Bigelow and written by her creative partner Mark Boal, stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez.

Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia) is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for Strong Violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language.

On the Donloe Scale: D (don’t know), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (ok, outstanding) and E (excellent), Zero Dark Thirty gets an E (excellent).

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