Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Chastain as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty.
Jessica Chastain as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty.

USA didn’t kill Bin Laden. She did.
Rating: ***

The genre of the film remains a puzzle. Wikipedia calls the film a “historical drama” while IMDb classifies it under the genres “drama, history and thriller”. The real genre of the film remains in the dark because everyone in America wants the film to be Hollywood’s version. The fact that the film introduces us to Maya, a character we haven’t seen or heard before is a possibility that Zero Dark Thirty indeed doesn’t fall under the genre “docudrama”. Apart from Maya, there are several characters, each of which give us a firm feeling that the story behind the greatest manhunt may have been tweaked to entertain us.

The fictional depiction in Zero Dark Thirty reminded me of Argo, another fine American film set in the Islamic part of Asia. The thrills in Argo thrive purely on fiction such as the climactic scenes happening in the airport. But, it is those scenes that make Ben Affleck’s film, a proud Hollywood version. Zero Dark Thirty is neither here nor there. Fictional characters become victims of real life events such as the Camp Chapman Attack. This of course gives film composer Alexander Desplat an opportunity to play melancholy notes on his piano.

Upon watching The Hurt Locker, I commented that Kathryn Bigelow has the “balls” to do a man’s job. In fact, no woman would want to direct a film like The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty. It is said that women prefer to watch romantic comedies and chick flicks, and when it comes to directing, they prefer to do the same. It’s indeed surprising to know that Kathryn Bigelow’s career has been built on making gritty dramas about cops, criminals, war and soldiers.

The most recognizable flaw could be the thrill leading up to a bombing. Several lines of unseemly dialogue are followed by explosions, and if you’ve read the headlines, you’ll know where a bomb will explode. There was a similar problem with The Hurt Locker too.


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