Comments on watching and making films.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is probably up for every award possible, but there is always that one movie that gets a lot of hype and probably doesn't deserve it. In my mind, that's this one. The film concerns the CIA, and the global manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. It takes place, roughly, over a decade, in which the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States happen, and the May 2nd, 2011 capture and execution of Bin Laden.

Now, ten years+ is a lot of time to cover in a movie, and most of the time a movie will cover the highlights of the events occurring on such a long timeline. In Zero Dark Thirty, it never feels like anything is much of a highlight. There's never too much intrigue here. It's more like someone is reading a report on what happened during that decade, and you're imagining it in your head to keep from being bored to death (and, somehow, you were able to edit the worst parts out). You never really get to know any of the characters that much, even the films supposed "lead" Jessica Chastain, who comes off as just being a secondary character who happened to have more lines and more screen time than anyone else.

Then again, I suppose, maybe that's the genius of Zero Dark Thirty. Here is a movie that is about the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, and you could almost say that Bin Laden is, in fact, the main character in the movie. It feels like you're waiting the entire movie to get to him, and then, just like the audiences relationship to the movie, You are allowed only brief glimpses of the man, and almost all moments are after he is dead. Zero Dark Thirty is one long trudge to the end, where you are allowed brief glimpses of something interesting, only to be over taken by the boring and tedious procedural aspects, and the barely there supporting cast. Why people feel this is somehow Bigelow's masterpiece is confusing. She's made much better films than this, and, hopefully, will continue to do so.

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