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Zero Dark Thirty *****

The manhunt for an illusive and cunning, wealthy global antagonist with a phenomenal support network unfolds as we crisscross continents, multiple countries and cultures, and meet a plethora of precisely chosen true-life personalities in this behind the scenes account of factors leading up to Osama bin Laden’s capture. Replicated events reaching into the upper echelons of Western powers detail the many moral lines crossed—US agents torturing detainees—and while the well chosen, keynote incidents are, interestingly enough, for many blurred memories, they are accurate reminders of the mayhem and unnecessary carnage one person, one group produced. Told through the eyes of a young obscure CIA agent, Maya’s (Jessica Chastain, based on a real person) innocence yields to hard-nosed resolve, and determination to “bring him in”; the teams’ tenacity ultimately persuades the President. The entire cast naturalistic representations heighten this vivid account.

Condensing historical highlights that span a decade into 157-minutes is most impressive. The ingenious Oscar® winning Kathryn Bigelow / Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) team delivers an intelligent, intense film: most pronounced is the inherent profundity. Dramatist and esteemed journalist Mark Boal bases his screenplay on interviews with countless pertinent sources; identities protected, the ramifications are clear. Such an ambitious project must have been daunting and challenging for all involved—in art direction, cinematography, editing—yet Bigelow and Boal are setting new perimeters in cinematic storytelling: Their novel approach combines journalistic and literary reportage and offers audiences a new, unique genre: the reported film. Zero Dark Thirty is US military jargon (Navy SEALs perpetrated the seizure) denoting nighttime and the moment—12:30 a.m.—when history is resurrected, and the world let out a collective sigh of relief. (Marinell Haegelin)

  • Title: Zero Dark Thirty
  • Opening: January 31 2013
  • Country / Date: U.K./USA 2012
  • Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Writing credits: Mark Boal
  • Principal actors: Jason Clarke, Reda Kateb, Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Jeremy Strong
  • Running length: 157 minutes

 

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