FILM: Zero Dark Thirty

When I heard that Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal were reuniting for Zero Dark Thirty two thoughts ran through my head, firstly “this should be good” and secondly “I hope”. Apart from the fact that the film was to be based on the American government’s hunt and eventual discovery and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, I knew little about what to expect – I was just hoping that the team would recreate the magic of its predecessor, The Hurt Locker.

With a running time of 159mins you expect to be a little run down by the end but that doesn’t come to pass, the film manages to never become bogged down, the plot is constantly moving with a few explosions thrown in here and there (if that’s your cup of tea). Zero Dark Thirty can be seen as a film about a woman on a mission, Jessica Chastain’s Maya lives for finding Osama Bin Laden and it is made evident that this task is all she has known for a very long time. Maya is pretty much the only key character here; the numerous other characters we meet are simply there to move her along in her mission and yet never are we left wanting more from the smaller roles. Powerhouse performances from all the actors involved mean every character feels complete no matter how few lines they have to deliver. A special mention has to be made for Jason Clarke as he takes on the challenges of a role which sees him at the centre of some harrowing scenes of torture; a striking performance that one can’t help hope has the same breakthrough effect as The Hurt Locker had for Jeremy Renner. What makes this film all the more special is that it is based on reality, incorporating real archive footage of news taken from the terrorist attacks that stunned the world and forced the government to take action, opening with clips of the phone calls from 9/11. It is incredible to think that events like these could happen, let alone have.

So, was it all that I could ever want? You know what, I think it was. I think that if you liked The Hurt Locker you are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy Zero Dark Thirty. Although completely different story wise, they have the same over riding values: the intensity of war and its ability to take over a person’s life as both Maya and Sergeant William James find out at the conclusions of their films: When it’s all you know where else can you go?

I think I may have found a new contender for my favourite film spot.