Zero Dark Thirty Movie Review

This is the movie that tells the story of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. This is coming from the woman who directed the Hurt Locker, and so expectations were high going into this film.

So did this film get a Zero? Or did it get a…Thirty? That was really bad.  Please forgive me. Let’s get into the review.

Here’s the deal. I understand exactly what this movie was going for. It tried to tell the story of Osama bin Laden’s manhunt without sugarcoating anything. And it did, in some sense. It definitely didn’t shy away from the grit. Unfortunately, it has a fatal flaw. Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, is the equivalent to a superhero.

“But DDog! She got nominated for an Oscar!”

Yes, you are correct. She did get nominated for an Oscar. That’s because she was a great character. She was a very strong, captivating character. You may not be able to see the problem here. Allow me to explain. See, this movie’s purpose is to tell a story. As it tries to tell a focused story, it loses its focus at times and focuses on Maya. The movie made her out to be a hero. She is a very interesting character, but she distracts the film from telling a strong, flowing story. Instead, it felt more like her story and her desire to catch bin Laden rather than what was going on in the world with terrorism.

This movie made the hunt for bin Laden feel much more small-scaled that it really was. It felt more like a story of an agent hunting for a terrorist. Even though it’s bin Laden and we all hate his guts, the movie doesn’t remind you of how bad he was. This is why this manhunt was so special. This guy at the end of the rainbow was a mass murderer. But instead of reinforcing how bad this terrorist was, it kind of just told the story while making this one girl the hero of it all.

The Hurt Locker worked so well because it didn’t glorify anybody or anything. It just told a story. Here, however, the lead actress is made out to be larger than life. The one to save the day. This movie was greatly enjoyable, but I felt that it kind of detached itself from the true story and focused on telling the manhunt. It didn’t take the time to show the characters’ reactions to 9/11. It didn’t start with Bush’s speech on terrorism after 9/11. It didn’t show the Situation Room watching the mission as it happened. It didn’t end with Obama’s speech of how bin Laden was killed. Why? Because the film focused on Maya rather than the events. It focused on her relief when the mission was said and done.

I don’t have to get into how cool the raid scene was, because it’s obviously going to be some pretty good stuff. There is some good humor and strong scenes in this film, don’t get me wrong. I really liked hearing what went into catching bin Laden. There were some great creative decisions, one which includes the addition of music from the time in which the events in the story happened. When songs from a couple of years ago play, you remember when it was popular. That was a cool thing that I really appreciated.

But the movie really did pivot too much from Jessica Chastain’s point of view, and it restricted the itself in many ways. Over all, this movie was a T-Bone. A well made movie? Yes. But it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted the full, all-out story of bin Laden, from why they wanted him, how they got him, to the aftermath. Instead, I got the story of how Maya captured bin Laden after a lot of hard work.

The the movie focused its attention in the attention of the story rather than focusing occasionally on the character, I wouldn’t have felt like information was being thrown my way. Many times in the film, new characters are tossed into the mix. I would have felt more familiar with them if they were properly introduced. But because the story focuses more on Maya, it can’t properly introduce anyone else to the story.

If you’re interested in the war on terrorism, check out this movie. Without a doubt, it’ll promote a ton of discussion between you and your friends. You’ll enjoy it. It simply didn’t hit the mark exactly

~Ddog

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3 comments on “Zero Dark Thirty Movie Review

  1. Pingback: Zero Dark Thirty Review: 50 Shades of Abu Ghraib | Rorschach Reviews

  2. Nice review Ddog. Zero Dark Thirty is a very solid manhunt unfolding in a thrilling and entertaining way. It’s not exactly ’24’, but the realism and implied accuracy does make it interesting to watch play out.

    • For sure. Like I said, it’s a movie that’ll get people talking. In these last few days, I’ve talked to two people about the hunt for bin Laden. If a movie gets people to talk about things, it’s a good movie. Thanks for your comment!

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