Rainer's Review of Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty(2013)
I expected terrifying things from some reviews I've read about Zero Dark Thirty. It's lengthy they said, and it's boring they said.
I'm not sure if they've seen the right film.
In contrary, Bigelow did a great job in preventing the film of becoming boring. It easily could have gone the other way, honestly, there's not happening much. Like in reality, where they captured four leading Al-Qaeda in 10 years, the film has not much to offer in terms of real progress.
But Bigelow starts off with a controversial highlight - a lot of torturing - and then, follows the obsession of one agent, following a lot of tracks, all going nowhere. I liked how she didn't include any unnecessary subplots but chose the risky way of only focussing on one character (I think this is the reason some might find it boring).
The performances didn't disappoint either. Kyle Chandler seems to have found a home in bit parts as middle management paper pusher, while it's unfortunate that Jason Clarke's character's importance declines midway through the film - he was the best of the bunch imo.
Chastain is also very good as Maya the central character in the search of Bin Laden. In only two years she has become one of the most dependable actors in all Hollywood, nevertheless, I prefer her work in The Tree of Life and The Help though.
All that said, I must admit though, that it's just too long (standing at over two and a half hours). I think with some bolder editing, especially in the latter parts, the film could have been better. I understand the necessity of time periods to show us how nerve-wrecking and aimless the search for Al-Qaeda leaders was for the better part of a decade. Time is, after all, one of the biggest assets and tools of filmmaking, but the raid scenes at the end would have benefitted from a bit compression.