January 3, 2013 in ACTION DRAMA WAR

Zero Dark Thirty Review

RYAN: Zero Dark Thirty is a bit of a late entry into the Oscar race. Not that it matters because it’s getting nominated for everything, and deservedly so.

CAROLINE: This is the kind of movie that you feel like you should see, as opposed to one you really want to see; at least that’s how I felt.  But of course, I’m so glad I saw it despite its long length; which btw is a theme this winter. 

RYAN: Totally! Everything is crazy long lately.  Zero Dark Thirty is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the first female to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker.  She certainly has a theme going on in her recent movies.

CAROLINE: There is some great acting in this movie, starting with the opening scene and the interrogation.  The main interrogator is so awesome.  And then, of course, there’s Jessica Chastain, who’s is the star of the movie.

RYAN: She’s the neck-and-neck front runner for Best Actress with Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook, and while I think Jessica was great in this, Jennifer was better in her movie.  To me, Jessica Chastain didn’t do too much.  It’s a stoic performance. 

CAROLINE: I hear what you’re saying.  Many people have pointed out how little to none of a back story her character has in this movie.  I also really liked Jennifer Ehle as her colleague.

RYAN: Other performances of note are from Mark Strong, James Gandolfini, John Barrowman and Lady Gaga’s boyfriend.

CAROLINE: So many surprise cast members for me in this movie!  Don’t forget Kyle Chandler and Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec fame.

RYAN: That was weird casting for him; I think of him as a comedian.

CAROLINE: For me the highlight of this movie was the end.  I think I won’t be ruining anything by telling you it’s the scene where they go in to get Bin Laden.  I felt like I was there.  It’s so intense and so amazingly well shot.  That section could almost be its own movie.

RYAN: Totally.  The movie is really intense and shot very realistically, like a suspenseful action movie/documentary, and I liked it more than a typical war movie because it’s a lot about the politics that went into the decade-long search for Osama, and I never knew it was sort of an underdog story about one CIA woman who never gave up looking for him. 

 

CAROLINE: It’s fascinating.  I can’t even imagine what this woman felt once they got Bin Laden, and I kind of wonder what she’s doing now.

RYAN: And I wonder what she looks like.

CAROLINE: Apparently she’s still an active officer of the CIA and Jessica Chastain wasn’t even allowed to meet her to discuss the role.

RYAN: That sucks. Even Julia Roberts got to meet Erin Brockovich before she shot the movie.

CAROLINE: A lot has been made of the torture scenes in this movie, and they’re pretty harrowing and hard to watch.

RYAN: We all knew and heard about the waterboarding and it’s definitely disturbing, but these things really happened and I found it interesting to watch.  It’s so cool that Kathryn Bigelow as a woman is so drawn to these gritty, male-type movies.

 

CAROLINE: She seems very committed to her craft, if you will.  I wouldn’t at all be surprised if she won the Oscar again.  The way they recreated Osama’s compound was so incredible.

RYAN: The movie was very well paced in that every 30 minutes or so, there was an explosion or an exciting event. 

CAROLINE: And knowing that each of those moments was based on a real event made it all the more exciting

— BOTTOM LINE — 

RYAN: I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would since I generally hate war movies.  While it’s not a war movie per se, it still has that tone.  Jessica Chastain is one of my favorite actress and I’m glad her star continues to rise. I think this movie is getting the awards buzz it is because it’s based in reality.  It’s certainly worth seeing for both its entertainment value and historical significance, but I didn’t love it as much as I loved some of the other contenders this year.

CAROLINE: Fair enough, and I’m inclined to agree.  It’s not my favorite movie of the year, but it’s so well made and so significant to the last 10 years of our history, that I think it’s a must-see for anyone who can handle the torture scenes.  It’s historically accurate but still very engaging and exciting; something I could not say about Lincoln.

RYAN: [laughs’ I couldn’t agree more.

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