Covering the ten years it took to find and kill Osama Bin Laden, the movie you came to see is in the last half-hour of this 2-and-a-half hour long film.
From the Oscar-winning team of “The Hurt Locker”, the first woman ever to win a best director Oscar, Kathryn Bigelow re-teams with screenwriter Mark Boal, to recreate the long search for and ultimate killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The film begins with voices, instead of images, from September 11th and then immediately switches to a torture-interrogation-waterboarding scene that introduces us to Maya (Jessica Chastain), the CIA agent who with pitbull-like relentlessness, was behind the raid in Pakistan that killed the September 11th mastermind. We’re told that Maya is a composite figure of several real-life CIA agents but it should be noted is actually the second film this year that depicts a woman as the person behind the Osama Bin Laden killing. The first was the little-seen National Geographic Channel film “Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden”.
While this film covers ten long years, it is not a documentary. The only time we see President Obama is a clip from “60 Minutes” in 2008 , which has him saying “America doesn’t torture”. That’s met blank stares from Maya and 2 other agents. In fact, we get a lot of blank stares from Maya. She’s silent much of the film, making her performance all the more extraordinary. Definitely Oscar bait.
What’s frustrating is we don’t learn a whole lot about Maya or the other CIA agents . It’s just the here and now and the job at hand. There’s no judgment in this film. By the way, James Gandolfini of “Sopranos” fame totally pulls the small role of CIA director. (Insert your mob/government jokes here.)
The performances are great but the film is too long and often slow in the first 2 hours. The last half hour is tense, taut and powerful. About the film’s title: Zero dark 30 is in military jargon, the precise time , , when Navy Seals landed on the Pakistani compound.