The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

I just returned from seeing "Zero Dark Thirty" at my local theater. This was one of my most anticipated films of the year, and while it wasn't the pure id that I had hoped it would be, I still got an excellent movie that I probably needed more than the purest jubilation.

The film focuses on "Maya", played by Jessica Chastain, a young CIA operative who has spent her entire short career with one mission: "get Osama bin Laden." I put Maya's name in quotes because we will never know what this woman's name was in real life, and it is for the best that we never know. A woman with no real family, and no real friends. Just her mission... or, as the film makes clear, her obsession. She spent years trying to find Abu Ahmed -- Ibrahim Sayeed -- a man purported to be bin Laden's personal courier. The film climaxes with a stunning dramatization of the rain on bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan and... unless you've lived under a rock for the past few years, you know what happens.

What impressed me most about this movie is just how honest it was. It didn't tell you how to feel, it presented a very dark chapter in our history honestly and let you decide for yourself if what happened was right. Torture is depicted, but not as the key to finding bin Laden so much as a brutal tool that for good or for ill was used... and those scenes were uncomfortable to watch. I am aware of the controversy this movie has caused, apparently some in the Senate want to know what was leaked to the filmmakers and even some are denying that some of what was depicted in the movie actually took place... but I am not one to listen to professional liars. The film was very bluntly honest, and I appreciated that.

In the near future, I will be writing up my Oscar picks for the year. Is "Zero Dark Thirty" my personal choice for Best Picture? I am still evaluating that. But if you haven't seen it yet, or you are not sure if you want to see it, just go see it -- do yourself the favor. It is excellent.

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