From the moment Zero Dark Thirty starts you know you will be subjected to tough material to watch. With nothing on the screen you hear the panicked calls made from the WTC on 9/11. It is still unsettling to hear and it sets the mood, your mind preparing itself for anything, knowing the movie is based on first hand accounts of actual events. As a viewer you see the circumstances in which suspected terrorists are questioned, all to find the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who previously was responsible for the Hurt Locker again deals with a realistic depiction of war, the war on terror.
Jessica Chastain is Maya, a young CIA agent who has decided to go to Pakistan to do some field work. That field work includes torture and it initially shocks her to see how the people who are held captive are treated. The interrogators can be kind one moment, but very disrespectful the next. All because they want to have some information which might lead them to Osama Bin Laden. Maya is determined to reach that goal and spends years following several leads, talking to captured terrorists and watching video footage. It’s a tough job especially since several terrorist attacks take place (for example the bombing of a bus in London).
This movie takes the viewer behind the scenes and shows the way the CIA worked in order to retrieve information. Tactics which are controversial (like waterboarding or putting dog collars on prisoners) and I’m sure this movie will lead to some more controversy. It also shows the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound and it is the closest thing anyone will ever come to experiencing it. It feels extremely realistic as the special forces move in you are right there with them, seeing everything with headmounted cameras, slowly working their way up to the top of the complex.
Jessica Chastain gives a great performance and will probably get an Oscar nomination for it. Her character is determined and knows how to use the knowledge she has to get things done. The movie has a couple of shocking moments giving it the same rawness The Hurt Locker also had. If you kept up to date with the news you know what will happen, but having heard about it and experiencing them are two different things. An important movie which can’t be missed. Check out your local cinema listings to see where this movie is playing near you.