Director Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent saga about the quest to kill Osama bin Laden tells a larger story. Can we honor the dead of 9/11 by copying the moral depravity of their killers?
Rating: Can be seen on any screen. The movie may be 2½ hours long, but it took close to 10 years to pay back a debt.
“Zero Dark Thirty” deserves all of its praise and criticisms. It is an accomplished, critical study largely seen through the eyes of Maya, played by the marvelous Jessica Chastain, a CIA operative destined to spend nearly a decade in Pakistan/Afghanistan. In the process, we watch as the world’s most powerful country repeatedly bungled its attempts to find its greatest enemy.
To begin with, Ms. Chastain dominates the screen in a role that will challenge Jennifer Lawrence in this year’s Oscar fight. She is flat out remarkable as a dedicated American operative who is hell bent on finding and killing Osama bin Laden. She literally lives and breathes to attain her sole goal, and it readily appears she has no other interests in life.
As I have previously noted in other articles, no other actress today other than Ms. Lawrence rivals Ms. Chastain’s enormous capabilities. Given the fact that she has two films playing, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Mama,” that dominated box office receipts recently, it is clear that her intellect, passion and beauty place her alone in Hollywood’s cinematic orbit.
However, the sad reality of “Zero Dark Thirty” is found in the opening half hour. Following 9/11, what we observe is the tragic reality of our country throwing away our moral compass. In the panic and anger that followed the destruction of the twin towers, the Bush administration willfully invited the use of torture into the 21st century, and in doing so you almost feel like the wretched bin Laden succeeded in the end.
To their credit, both Ms. Chastain and one of her co-stars, Jason Clarke, don’t run from the repeated use of torture, or as it was called by Vice President Cheney and his cohorts at the time, “enhanced interrogation techniques.”•
To read the complete review of “Zero Dark Thirty,” visit www.bigmouthbobs.com
• Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films.