Zero Dark Thirty – 4.5/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Zero Dark Thirty – 4.5/5 – A movie that came out last year, was finally released here in my area.   I have been hearing many good things for this movie, and after watching it, all that has been said about the film is well deserved.  Zero Dark Thirty is a film based around the true events for the hunt of the mastermind behind 9/11.  This film is a great ride through the truths, as portrayed on screen, and a definite film that would have been in my Top 10 films list of 2012.

The premise of the film is as followed:

A CIA operative, by the name of Maya (Jessica Chastain), first experiences the hunt for the 9/11 mastermind in the interrogation of prisoners following the attacks against the United States.  From this first encounter, and for several years on, she becomes single-minded in her pursuit of the leads to uncover the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda leader. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will finally pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden.

Majority of the movie is based around the hunt, with the main focus being on the CIA operative, Maya.  She is played by Jessica Chastain.  In this role, she gives a deep, calculating but mentally frustrated individual, who has no other purpose but to find this one man.  For everything that happens to her in this film, she stays steadfast on finding the ultimate target, which takes 12 years of her career. Jessica performs this role at a very high caliber level.  She provides grandeur to this performance, as she fully embraces the Maya character, adding passion, guile and authenticity to the role.  She is so focused, that the audience becomes gripped in her duties.  You begin to feel the same as Maya.  There is nothing beyond her goal, and nothing that will stop her from achieving it.  She faces anguish, hardship and false leads, but she is stays confident, and does nothing to deter from it.  Her strength is in the motions of her facial expressions, as well as her interaction and dialogue with other CIA operatives and other’s in the movie.  She does give an Oscar worthy performance.  When it comes to the supporting cast, it is litter with great talent and strong performances.  To name of few people, you have Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jeremy Strong, Joel Edgerton and James Gandolfini.  These fine actors provide raw and realistic approaches to their characters, and you feel they are authentic and are the real people.  Along with Chastain, they add quality in their delivery of lines and interactions.  They also add emotional depth to this hunt, based on their roles in the film.

The direction of this film is revolves around facts, which helps the progression stay singular and focused.  As the directive is surrounded around finding this one man, you are on a calculated ride by watching the ins and outs of the ‘behind the scenes’ look that it takes to perform missions of high caliber task.  You have horrific torture scenes, a lot of dialogue and many elements of developing leads.  This brings progression and depth to not only the characters, but the facts.  With a lot of time made behind dialogue, interrogation and evidences gathering, there is a lot of down time.  With that down time, you might side track from the moment at times, but the director does a good job in invoking tone through facial expression, emotional reaction, as well as usage of light, camera angles and score layering.  Kathryn Bigelow, who also directed The Hurt Locker, uses the same tactics in this movie to keep the film engaging.  I believe she does a better job in this movie then The Hurt Locker.  The uses of these tactics keeps the film aware, and the focus on the work it took to find this one man shows a great appreciation of the facts, even if it is stylized for the big screen.

The cinematography is superb in this film.  With locations that invoke a realistic look at the Middle East, you feel as if you’re part of the mission in these exotic locales.  From the locations created, like the CIA headquarters to the home that the Navy Seals infiltrate, you don’t think for one second that this is a movie creation.  The musical soundtrack in this film helps add to the raw and gritty appeal, as it helps you develop a strong emotional bond with the ‘edge of your seat’ moments to the ‘tragic’ scenes of the film.

Overall, this film is another spectacular achievement from the director of The Hurt Locker.  Along with the great directing, you have great performance from the supporting cast, as well as the main leading lady, Jessica Chastain.  If you like films based on true events, with a raw and gritty appeal, this is a film for you.  I recommend for a viewing at the theaters and a definite Blu-Ray purchase.

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