Home > Movies > Zero Dark Thirty: My Review (spoilers possible)

Zero Dark Thirty: My Review (spoilers possible)

Tradecraft: A skill acquired through experience in a typically clandestine role.

That’s a theme running through Zero Dark Thirty, where Al Qaeda members are so expert at their tradecraft that they disappear from the face of the Earth for years. It takes eons of intelligence gathering, brutal interrogation tactics, and puzzle solving at its finest for government agents to discover where “Geronimo” and his courier are finally hiding.

I’ve been waiting for months to watch this movie, and it did not disappoint. However, even though I knew going in that torture for the sake of information gathering was going to have a big role in this, it was still hard to take. The debate for me isn’t that one government is worse than another for using it, because in reality all governments do it even if it’s not public knowledge; the debate is, does it really give the results sought after or is it just a chance for humans to go back to their savage heritage in the 21st century? Are we really that evolved if this tactic is still in use?

Back to the review: Jessica Chastain as Maya is a marvel to watch. She truly captures the awe and indecisiveness of an unseasoned CIA recruit at the beginning, thrown into the brutal realities of an interrogation from the get go. In the end, it’s easy to see from her haunted eyes that she’s seen and experienced things during this hunt that have permanently removed the naivete.

The actual raid on the compound does not happen until close to the end of the movie. There is no glad-handing, no pounds on the back and whoops when the mission is accomplished. There has been much debate on whether or not UBL (as he is called in the movie) was armed and firing back, so this aspect is not shown directly. The result is displayed unflinchingly, and with no emotion.

I don’t know how Kathryn Bigelow wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award this year for Best Director, but she definitely should have been. She did an amazing job with this film.

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