Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Another terrible portrayal of History by Hollywood… I thought we were over this.
Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) is propaganda veiled as a movie about the CIA operation, situations and tortures that led up to the finding and execution of Osama bin Laden by Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 on May 2011.
Of all the movies that will disappoint me in 2013 I am going to assume that this will be one of the top ones. Being part “girl power” cannon fodder and part “propaganda reel” at its core I found it to be sloppily pieced-together, amateurish, and dare I say pointless.
The acting was questionable with a few highlights – especially by Jason Clarke (torturer Dan) and the cinematography was done well enough to where you can suspend belief. At the core was Maya (Jessica Chastain) who for this movie was the star. In many ways Zero Dark Thirty was a one woman show for Maya who sassed the lazy CIA boys in her presence, forced them to act and made it her personal vendetta to get Osama bin Ladin.
Some of the things that made ZDT fail for me was its refusal to tell a proper story as it goes along. We aren’t given any real sense of the time elapsing with the situation as Maya’s supposedly decade long quest to catch Osama is showcased via shots of her sitting frustrated in front of a dusty computer.
The only break in Maya’s sassing the brass is when an occasional terrorist strike is shown, or via cut-away to the torturing of captured insurgents to get the information. It starts off with some promise – and we get to see some mental and physical torture do it’s magic in breaking men who have sworn loyalty or death. But before long it becomes an arduous repetition of drama between Maya and whoever else was sharing her screen time.
If you think that Zero Dark Thirty will show much of the actual S.E.A.L.S. who infiltrate the compound then you will be disappointed. If you think there is a lot of action then you will be disappointed too, No, this is about Maya and not much else, as she fights not only Al Qaeda but her CIA bosses who merely get in her way.
I learned more and had a much better time watching Netflix’s Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden and that’s saying a lot. Ironically even the actual S.E.A.L. members call this movie inaccurate in the rushed portrayal of their gear, tactics and the actual raid. How ridiculous.