Dark Zero Thirty and the search for Osama....
A new approach turns a familiar story into a gripping thriller, writes
HERE are no real spoilers about the end of Zero Dark Thirty, which follows the 10-year CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The latest from The Hurt Locker Oscar-winning duo – director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal – is more about the journey than the destination.
In a retelling of events that almost feels like a documentary in parts, Bigelow has used real recordings and footage to add an extra layer of detail that also gives greater emotional impact.
The opening scene is simply a black screen, although the audio tells you this is September 11, as people on their phones call loved ones or emergency services.
‘‘I’m going to die aren’t I?’’ a woman from one of the Twin Towers says, before it cuts out.
Soon we’re meeting Maya (Jessica Chastain), a young, nervous CIA officer sitting in on her first ‘‘enhanced interrogation’’ of an al-Qaeda detainee.
Leading these is Australian Jason Clarke ( Lawless) as CIA operative Dan, who’s front and centre of the controversial torture scenes, where tactics like waterboarding and mental torture are used.
The most memorable character though is Chastain. The story is seen through her eyes in the decade-long pursuit and her transformation over the two and a half hours of the film is impressive. She transforms from an innocent new recruit, to one with a cool, steely determination, to a woman with an unhealthy obsession who sacrifices any semblance of a personal life in her attempt to find bin Laden. Her performance will blow you away.
What’s tough to swallow about the film is just how dense it is. A tense thriller, it’s very much about the many different avenues that were covered in this mission – torture, bribery, electronic surveillance and onthe-ground work.
The dialogue is wordy and filled with jargon in so many places that it’s hard to keep up.
When it finally comes down to the fateful mission, the pace really picks up. The feeling of terrified claustrophobia you have for the Navy SEALs that night is palpable. Playing two of the roles within that crew are Aussies Joel Edgerton and Callan Mulvey.
Unflinching and intense, Zero Dark Thirty is a gripping thriller that leaves you feeling somewhat drained.
stars Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton