From the director of the 82nd Academy Award Best Picture The Hurt Locker in 2009, comes another film that is the epitome of filmmaking. Inspired by true events, the film follows the ten-year manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the man who caused the deaths of thousands of innocent men and women on the tragic day of September 11th. But one thing needs to be made clear about this film: it is not a documentary! From the beginning to the end, we already know the story. In this case, it is a matter of “how” the film progresses and than “what” happened in the film.
The story of Zero Dark Thirty puts us into the shoes of Maya (Jessica Chastain), a CIA analyst newly assigned to work in Afghanistan with the task of hunting down Bin Laden following the September 11th attacks. Accompanying her is Dan (Jason Clarke), a veteran CIA officer aiding her in her manhunt. The film depicts Maya’s first day of assignment to her last day, when SEAL Team 6 killed Bin Laden. Throughout the film we see the various events that Maya had to, sometimes unwillingly, witness and conduct tortures, interrogations, scouting missions and suicide bombings. The film climaxes when SEAL Team 6 was dispatched to a compound to find Bin Laden. Without revealing too much, this particular segment of the film was full of intensity and suspense. It is not your typical “Hollywood final battle” where explosions and gunfire are maximized to full blown “epicness”. Most of the scene was quiet; there was barely any music, like the rest of the film. Sometimes the firing of silenced rifles and the explosions of mines will break the tranquility. Unlike a typical Hollywood ending, we don’t seem to get feeling of triumph once Bin Laden was killed. Instead, for me at least, we get a feeling that is hard to describe, a sort of hollowness in the atmosphere. All the scenes felt real and it was as if you were in the scene itself. With the soundtrack lingering in the background, the element of surprise seems to be at its best and will catch you off guard.
After watching the 157 minutes of this masterpiece, I realized this film is not about a CIA officer tracking down and finally, finding Bin Laden. Like The Hurt Locker, which follows the story of a US soldier tasked with disposing and defusing explosives, Zero Dark Thirtyis about the story of a person literally obsessed with her job, but still dedicated to a cause. If you are looking for an action movie with multiple gunfights and epic music throughout the film or a movie to go out and watch with your family for some entertainment, then this film may not be for you. But if you are looking for something that will evoke an intense atmosphere around you, then this Academy Awardnominated masterpiece is the film to watch.