Customer Review

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over your head?, 20 Mar 2013
This review is from: Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2012] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I needed to pipe up in support for this film because there are too many negative reviews where people haven't appreciated the film, as I think they have missed the point.

This is a film that has sacrificed much for the sake of events and it's message. In the same way Maya sacrifices her personal life, friendships and relationships, the film decides to ignore all of that too, as the film and Maya just concentrate on their goal. If Maya is more interested in finding OSB then that is all the film concentrates on too.

Once you realise this you can understand the sadness that underlines the film, and the ending becomes much more profound. About halfway through we think we are going to get a scene where Maya finally gets some personal time to have a meal with her colleague in a restaurant, but Bigelow is tricking us, using this moment to clearly say "no, she has no personal life". I won't spoil the scene, but when you see it you will realise exactly what Bigelow is saying about this character.

Many here have talked about how it is long and slow paced, but that is all part of de-glamorising the process. The torture is crucial to this story, not because it is glorified, but precisely because it hinders the process. This is a criticism of the torture policy that supposedly took precedence during this period. The film also takes place over many years, and in the end it is a fairly mundane method that lead to the whereabouts of OBL being found. That is why the film is presented the way it is. We can all turn on Channel 5 and get some overblown and badly staged drama over these events, but film deserves a more thought provoking story. And we get that.

If you want action, and Hollywood moments go and watch Argo. That was a real life story that was actually fairly mundane and boring, but they inserted lots of cliched Hollywood tension moments to make it a bit like Die Hard 2. In ZDT we have a story that could be told fairly accurately in full blown Hollywood mode, but Bigelow went the other way and downplayed it, even though the compound scene is exciting and tense.

The comparison I just made with Argo is exactly why I was totally shocked when BAFTA and the Academy decided to give Affleck all the awards, despite Argo feeling more like a Hollywood genre popcorn flick. I think ZDT should have at least got Best Director, if not Best Film. But then when do they ever get it right?

And just for the record, I hated The Hurt Locker, and I haven't liked a Bigelow film since Near Dark. So if you want an intelligent, gripping drama about important real life events watch ZDT. If you want Hollywood tension, and planes being chased up runways by jeeps watch Argo.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Mar 2013 21:45:15 GMT
L. Kay says:
Great review. This film is as much a study in obsession and dedication to a cause, and the consequences that brings, as it was about American foreign policy at the time. A powerful, thoughtful film.

Posted on 1 Apr 2013 09:30:25 BDT
I. M. Hall says:
I couldn't agree more with both posts, if you read the reviews on iTunes, you get the feeling that many cinema goers wanted a Chuck Norris film with a massive shoot out at the end. Perhaps with Mr Norris's wife being killed at the twin towers and a true American killing the world's most wanted man at the end of the film.

It isn't that type of film, the only film I can compare it to is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The word tradecraft is used in the film, a word I had only come across in the Smiley books. It is about the obsessive need by an Intelligence Officer to hunt down OSB. The sense of claustrophobia and isolation of a female CIA operative working in Pakistan comes over very strongly. It is a film that leaves you thinking.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2013 00:41:04 BDT
I think the fact that American's have this "Team America" vibe when it comes to world affairs, at least from general publics point of view, and the way they celebrated outside the whitehouse after Bin Laden was killed, and all the high fiving and news coverage means, I think, the audience were expecting a film that consisted of American's patting themselves on the back.

This film is almost the opposite of that, it's a look at the COSTof catching OBL. Whether that cost is the American policy of torture or Maya's lost decade of life.
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