Title: Zero Dark Thirty
Language: English, Arabic
Genre: Drama, History
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
A tit-for-tat vengeance it ostensibly acclaims, ZERO DARK THIRTY is a gritty, hard-boiled account of our anti-heroine Maya’s relentless pursuit of Usama Bin Laden, and the most precious calibre of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film (after her precedent Oscar champion THE HURT LOCKER 2008) is it soberly obviates any hyperbole which is attendant with its sensational thematic source.
The film centers closely on Maya’s perspective (excludes the last 30-minutes of re-enactment of the actual raid), the camera prowls around her, sifts meticulously her reflexes towards the mires she is engulfed with, meanwhile, Kathryn adopts a much daring path to categorically circumvents Maya’s personal life and background foils, which inevitably will cause some unbecoming distance towards its core audience, but it does enhance a tincture of ceremonial sacrifice in her devotion, a fatalism glory in her trials and tribulations which can empathize in any other individual’s own track of life.
Standing firmly as an apolitical film fanatic, I could stay unruffled with its vexing “torture” controversy because as it is mentioned in the film, “it is just biology”, the truth lies unscathed here and there no matter how we try to whitewash it, and it is extremely feasible to exert the extreme action under the extreme circumstances, the film really has some guts in not hedge the issue and instead, it emboldens us to question ourselves to face the darkest side of our humanity, Maya’s gradual stolidness towards torture could be applied to anyone if facing a similar situation (there are profuse nefarious activities happening everyday everywhere). So a film should not be punished to reveal the “ inconvenient truth” which slams the hypocrisy of the ruling class, it is foreseeable that not everyone would be happy with the film, but what is the most quintessential conviction is that this sort of film should own its voice and place in the market and earn its appeal.
Kathryn recruited most of her THE HURT LOCKER crew in this film, so the dusty texture, erratic camerawork, superb sound effect and visual blast are viscerally cogent. Jessica Chastain, whose excellency I may not repeat here, but her flair of arresting attention is inscrutably immense, even as plain as simple contemplation, she would blow you away. Her illustrious future is clearly beckoning and Meryl Streep can feel a sense of relief since finally there is someone who can suit her shoes, interestingly, it is the very much underused and under-appreciated actress Jennifer Ehle who resembles a staggering young Meryl Streep countenance in the film, and among a dozen of male ancillary roles, Jason Clarke should be honorably mentioned albeit his screen-time diminution in the latter half of the film does leave his Oscar-chance awry.
The film altogether is more like a phlegmatic rumination of a persistence of what we believe than a panegyric for unsung heroes, it establishes its unyielding stance out of a presumed HOMELAND-esque political thriller pattern, personally it is that kind of film I admire more than I enjoy, and Ms. Bigelow and the screenwriter Mark Boal are the unsung heroes here.