Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

By: Sage Gregson


From the novel to the big screen, “Zero Dark Thirty” makes a sound impression, and it’s a fine story overall.

It is the account of how a group of dedicated people caught a dangerous solitary man in a nation of chaos.

The film centers on a CIA agent named Maya, who collaborates with the United States embassy in Pakistan to track down the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks:  Osama Bin Laden.

From 2004 to 2011, Maya investigates mysteries and follows leads, but Bin Laden seems ever more elusive as the story progresses.

With perseverance, courage, and some horrifying casualties, all of the pieces of the mystery begin to come together, but now Maya’s team faces a new challenge:  capturing Bin Laden himself.

“Zero Dark Thirty” concludes with a climax that puts the audience on the edge of anticipation.

The Navy Seals’ raid on Bin Laden’s hideout is a scene that is sure to be a thrilling movie experience.  It goes through the actual time it took to capture him, from the moment the stealth helicopters landed in Abbottabad to the confrontation with Osama Bin Laden himself.

Jessica Chastain, the actress who plays Maya, does a fantastic job of depicting a person determined for justice.

It is almost inhuman how Maya hungers to hunt down Bin Laden.

She obsesses over every lead and pushes her team hard to get results, but it is her determination that drives the plot successfully forward.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is also effective in the way it displays the world of the Middle East.

It is made clear from the beginning of the movie that Pakistan is not a safe place for any American, so everyone must constantly be on their toes, especially women like Maya.

Terrorists are embedded in every town and city.  They are equipped with weapons, bombs and, worst of all, a deep hatred for any American who crosses their path.

Pakistan provides an exciting atmosphere where no one knows when trouble is going to strike next.

Despite its successes, “Zero Dark Thirty” has a few disturbing scenes involving the torture of al-Qaida terrorists.

The audience witnesses several parts where a terrorist named Ammar (Reda Kateb) is brutally beaten and humiliated by an American soldier, depicting a much darker side of the U.S. army than most are accustomed to.

Ammar’s torture is a scene that could even make the most patriotic American feel sorry for the terrorist.

“Zero Dark Thirty” also runs into a slump in the plotline toward the middle of the film.  There is a good bit of time where all that happens for half an hour is a bunch of American officials silently sitting back and admiring the dedication Maya puts into her work.

The movie has a few rough edges, but, as a whole, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a film worth seeing.

Its stellar cast and scenery do well in describing the journey the CIA had to go through to locate Osama Bin Laden.

“Zero Dark Thirty” shows that the truth is not easily found, but it is there all the same.

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2 Thoughts to “Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty”

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