Bill I’s Review – 4.5 out of 5
Best review of the topic I’ve read is this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-hoffman/zero-dark-thirty-terrorism_b_2421874.html
It’s a fantastic film, fact based combined with the best film-making from Kathryn Bigelow. The acting is superb, doesn’t ever seem like acting, just seems real. I loved Argo, but comparing the scenes from each film where the protagonists try to work their cars through angry mobs in Pakistan or Iraq, and you will see that Zero Dark Thirty takes it to another level, of realism, of feeling the threat, or what it must have been like. The subject of torture (“enhanced interrogation techniques”) is controversial but to me appears very well portrayed: the US did it, it wasn’t pretty, wasn’t effective in most cases, and damaged our reputation. It wasn’t the key to unlocking where Bin Laden was, and if you pay attention this film shows that. It yielded pieces of information, but it took sleuthing, bribery, technology and persistence to finally track him down. The capture exercise by the Navy Seals is a mini-movie in itself, one of the best, and I assume realistic, I’ve ever seen. The CIA is portrayed as comprised of some heroic, dedicated, career professionals who make it through (or don’t, in some tragic circumstances) the hell that is terror central. The CIA is also shown as home to some career bureaucrats, who are more concerned about their careers, showing some “wins” even if it means taking down low value targets, while not taking undue risks, more than succeeding at getting Bin Laden. But, Spoiler Alert…we got him!!!
Bill C’s Review – 4.5 out of 5
I agree with Bill that this is an exceptional film. It draws us right in with actual, heartbreaking recordings of people in the WTC and responding to the tragedy. The film then does an amazing job of netting out a 10-year search into a well-told 2.5 hour movie.
I think part of the reason I liked this movie so much was that these events are so fresh in my mind. The events of—and since—9/11 had such a real and emotional impact on all of us. I think the strong emotions of the Iranian hostage crisis contributed to my strong feelings about Argo also.
As Bill points out, the search and successful mission was totally dependent on the sacrifice and dedication of many Americans. The film does a great job of showing how success came more from ferreting out the lies from captives and painstaking attention to detail and mundane detective work. While this sounds boring, as presented in the movie, it is not.
Jessica Chastain and her supporting cast are excellent. She deserves her best actress Oscar nomination. I am surprised that Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated as Best Director. She won the Oscar a few years ago for The Hurt Locker (which I highly recommend).
Unless you will be turned off by the torture and violence, you should definitely see this film.