I’ve taken some time to actually do a film review for Zero Dark Thirty and that was by design because this film does not fall into the usual categories. Most films of this ilk provide a tasty finish, one with a feeling of triumph, resolution or redemption but not so fast. Though we all know they get Osama Bin Laden at the end, the path to that apogee is twisted and full of dark moments and that leads me to the conclusion of Zero Dark Thirty: it isn’t a film but more a docudrama.
The first thirty of minutes of the film put the viewer within breathing distance of some unrelenting torture, as CIA operatives push Al Qaida associates to cough up the details on the location of Osama. The film plot (historical chronology) moves through the trials and tribulations as a small group of analysts and field officers turn over every rock, stone, leaf, and blade of grass that could hide the wanted terrorist. Assuming the film is accurate, I was stunned at the price paid in time and blood for the whereabouts of Osama. The highpoint of the film probably lies within the last third with the raid on the compound. Again, dark and thought provoking, the film captured the likely precision, tension, and sheer will of the operatives.
All in all, the film had a very high production value with rock solid actors, a plot line which keeps running, and a feeling one had finished a marathon upon the film’s conclusion. Though the director, Kathryn Bigelow, was snubbed at the Oscars, this film should have earned best picture (Argo was good but hardly the best of 2012) though as I mentioned, it was more docudrama than traditional film. I would rate this experience a solid seven out of 10.