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Zero Dark Thirty/Rated R for violence, torture and bad language

I don’t know if you will like this film. What I do know is that the hard drive where my reviews are alphabetically stored will have this one at the bottom. ZDT shares with other 2012 Oscar-nominated films – Argo and Lincoln – a plotline problem; namely the ending is known by just about everybody, everywhere. Since the film runs almost two hours and 40 minutes, and relies on suspense to create an interesting story, the filmmakers must be especially skilled.

Thanks to director Kathryn Bigelow and actress Jessica Chastain they’re successful. KB’s last theatrical film, The Hurt Locker (2008), won Oscars for best picture and director. While I thought it was a good film, I also thought it was basically the same scene repeated four or five times. This time out the storyline is a lot better.

It chronicles the search for and death of Osama bin Laden from September 11, 2001 to his end in May of 2011. Chastain plays the CIA operative whose single goal is to track bin Laden down and end his miserable existence. JC is superb as the long-suffering pursuer. She is dogged in her goal, and frustrated when things aren’t going well. We all know that eventually she will succeed. Hope I didn’t spoil anything for you.


Having seen a number of documentaries on the subject, and read a couple of the books on the mission, I can say that this one, based on my reading of the recent book “No Easy Day” by a participant in the Seal Team Six raid, is extremely accurate. In fact, while dramatized, this film appears to be about as accurate a portrayal as will ever be available.

This film is definitely one of the best made and informative that I saw during 2012. Keep in mind that the first 15 to 20 minutes contain graphic scenes of torture during the years immediately following the 9/11 event, when water boarding and other mean things were happening to the folks captured by the CIA. A lot of politicians and other folks have taken great umbrage at the portrayal of these scenes. I would remind them to review the 9/11 scenes and sounds of people leaping out a thousand foot high building in order to not burn to death.

As long as you can stand the torture scenes, you can sit back and watch the man hunt for OBL. What this film is really about is JC and her dogged pursuit of the coward who preferred to hide and send others to do evil work, while he lived a peaceful life with his family.

His death in ZDT is a welcome and fulfilling event. The last thirty minutes where the actual raid is on screen are mesmerizing.

Rated 3.8 out of 4.0 reasons this movie remains at the bottom of my storage list until the next Zorro film makes an appearance. It should be high on your watch list. Meaning Zero Dark Thirty. Not sure about the next Zorro movie.


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