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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

In 2003, two years after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a fiercely determined CIA officer (Jessica Chastain) focuses only on one thing ... the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden. The film chronicles her eight year journey to achieve just that. Kathryn Bigelow's first film since her Oscar winning THE HURT LOCKER again ventures into U.S. involvement in the Middle East but this time with a female protagonist. Can lightning strike twice? Yes. As in HURT LOCKER, Bigelow takes no political sides. ZERO DARK THIRTY takes a clinical, objective look at the behind the scenes machinations that led to Bin Laden's death. From the very beginning with scenes of graphic torture of Arab detainees to the raid on Bin Laden's fortress, Bigelow avoids political commentary and leaves that up to us. What we get is an intense cinematic experience that's so compelling you barely notice the two hours and forty minutes running time. Chastain proves that her phenomenal 2011 year was no fluke and her performance here is as relentless as her character. Mark Boal's screenplay is tight if a bit overwhelming at times. The sparse score by the great Alexandre Desplat is muted for most of the film but goes into high gear during the preparation for and during the raid sequence. The excellent ensemble cast includes Jason Clarke, Edgar Ramirez, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle (just wonderful) and James Gandolfini.

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