12 January 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012, USA)

Before seeing Zero Dark Thirty, I was prepared to be scandalized and horrified, the same way I was when I saw The Hurt Locker. (Un)fortunately, the film is far too dull to be scandalous. The torture scenes are pretty tame, especially if you've seen documentaries like Taxi to the Dark Side. The film is basically a plodding procedural thing. I found it hard to care about anything because the entire thing was almost completely devoid of context. So I waited for something that felt like three hours for the big climactic scene to occur. This, again, was ruined by a dearth of context, though unlike the rest of the film it spared the audience the silly dialogue that seems to be Bigelow's hallmark. My only feeling after seeing the film was a desire to know who all the collateral damage types were, like the parents gunned down in front of their children, who may have just been neighbors. I found it really hard to tell what was happening during the big climax. I didn't care for the film, but it was too ponderous to get very revved up about. Also, I like Jessica Chastain. I've loved her in some roles. But I don't understand why her performance in this movie is seen as so incredible. The movie never asks any questions, like whether it was worth all the resources and lost lives to kill this man in the middle of the night. It felt worth it when I first heard the news, but watching this movie I started to wonder. Perhaps that was intentional, but again, Bigelow doesn't seem to like to get herself muddied up with ideas so it's hard to believe that's the case. C-

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