The internet has been buzzing with talk about this gripping and, some would say, flawed movie. Even US senator John McCain has joined in on the banter by commenting on the depicted CIA torture techniques. It seems everyone has an opinion about this movie and, with no shortage of offended parties, expect to hear the words Zero Dark Thirty on many lips.
Katherine Bigelow directs this dramatisation of the ten-year man hunt conducted by the CIA, more specifically by resolute CIA agent Maya, in search of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. Bigelow, who also directed The Hurt Locker, reels the audience in with a methodical build-up of intricate characters and a plot most people used to follow in small doses via world news. The look and style of the visuals also add very well to the general feeling of reality that one sees on screen, transporting the viewer into dusty and dangerous Pakistan.
Jessica Chastain, who plays Maya, is nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress – this follows her winning a Golden Globe in the same category for this film. Maya, who is Chastain’s composite depiction of two actual female CIA agents, doggedly pursues any and every lead relating to the location and possible apprehension of bin Laden, sometimes overcome by desperation. This desperation is clear when she turns on the steely resolve even when confronted with the barbaric torture of captured al-Qaeda operatives.
With four Golden Globe nominations and four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress, this film is a must-see. Even though it is tainted by the endless American drawl associated with the subject of “war on terror” over the past decade, this might be an appropriate ending to what is probably not the last chapter of the jihad story. With many historical inaccuracies pointed out, it is perhaps not wise to view the movie as a documentary but rather as it was intended: a dramatisation. In that category it does very well indeed, provoking much thought afterwards and the inevitable googling of actual events.
Zero Dark Thirty is currently screening in cinemas nationwide.