Sunday, January 20, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

There were definitely mixed emotions from my end, as I headed in to watch Zero Dark Thirty. On the positive side, I knew the film was receiving ample amounts of praise, which is always a good thing. Also, I was intrigued to see what happened with the events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden. Not that I trusted the film to be 100% accurate, but I trusted that they would not sway far from the truth. However, there was a huge negative that stood in the background. The truth is that I was not at all a fan of The Hurt Locker. I found it boring and odd from beginning to end, and I figured that Zero Dark Thirty would be extremely similar, considering that they share the same creator. My hope was that my interest in the story would outweigh any similarity to The Hurt Locker...

Well, I can't really criticize the events surrounding bringing the world's most wanted man to justice, but I will say that I didn't really enjoy the vibe that the film gave off. I know that a "vibe" is a very undefinable aspect of a film. However, I would say that most people agree that all movies, TV shows, music, etc. have some sort of vibe, which is usually a good or bad thing. The Zero Dark Thirty vibe was almost exactly the same as that of The Hurt Locker, and I would certainly say that did not help the film at all. There were many suspenseful moments, as was with The Hurt Locker, but the way that those moments were dealt with was far from dramatic. Normally, I would like the telling of a raw story, without all of the glitz and glam, but I believe that Kathryn Bigelow just lacks the ability to keep me interested, however valiant her efforts and torture scenes.

While there were other important characters, the majority of the film focused on Jessica Chastain's Maya, who was at the center of the CIA's hunt for Osama Bin Laden. The CIA teams were portrayed as these workaholics who were hell-bent on finding Bin Laden, and there was really nothing else as far as character depth. I know this story was not about the characters, but I would have liked a little bit more from the individual characters' storylines in a movie that was well over 2.5 hours.

As I said, in general, there were plenty of low points character-wise, but the performances were not bad, so I won't dwell too much on the negatives. I will say that my least favorite character was that Osama Bin Laden guy. Although he had zero lines in the film, I could tell he was up to no good.

Regardless of how shallow her character was, Jessica Chastain gave an amazing and hard-nosed performance. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to cross her. Although her performance was not the best of 2012, in my opinion, she is deserving of the Oscar that she is probably going to win next month. I was also impressed with Kyle Chandler's performance as Joseph Bradley, who was some head honcho with the CIA folks. From the previews, I didn't think he was going to really fit the role, but he did quite well.

While I greatly appreciate the suspense and the telling of this historic story, I wasn't overwhelmed by the way the story was told. Rather than revolving around Osama Bin Laden, the story truly revolved around Chastain's Maya. In the end, I didn't get that "Merica!" feeling that I wanted. It was more like "Maya!". There is no problem with telling that sort of story, but it did not meet my expectations for the Oscar nominated film. I know I have been a bit harsh, but I don't want to overly discourage everyone from checking Zero Dark Thirty out. I just don't want you to go in with the same expectations that I had. Also, begin praying that this film does not win best picture, because I would rather almost any of the other nominees take that award home. Something about Kathryn Bigelow just makes me not want her to win. Anywho, I give Zero Dark Thirty 2.77 out of 5 stars.

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