Dark Zero Thirty and the search for Osama....

A new ap­proach turns a fa­mil­iar story into a grip­ping thriller, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.

opens to­day.

stars Chris Pratt and Joel Edger­ton

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