Let's All Go To the Movies.. Or Not: Zero Dark Thirty
Now on to our feature presentation. I was excited about this movie going in as almost all the buzz surrounding it has been good (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and looking at the Academy Award nominations the movie received my expectations were pretty high. I thought it was odd that Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed from getting a Best Director nomination, but then I actually saw the movie. This movie traces the events from 9/11 through last year in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. The movie stops on some key points throughout the decade long manhunt, and it seems Bigelow was almost trying to make the movie itself that long. That was my first main beef with this movie is that the running time of 2:37 is excessive, especially the first tow hours. I don’t know how this movie got Oscar nominations for screenplay and editing as the dialogue and character interactions seem contrived and the movie is edited in a way that makes you think they forgot some stuff near the end and crammed in scenes that don’t flow with the rest of the film but work to try and keep the story on track. I’ve seen this movie described as an action movie and a thriller, but the only action is the raid on the Bin Laden house, and there is zero tension created to classify this as a thriller. The raid on the Bin Laden compound takes up the last 30 minutes plus of the movie, is very well done and salvages the movie. The other thing that kind of irked me was the fact that Bigelow flirts with a couple storylines, but doesn’t commit to either one enough. That would be the toll this decade took on Chastain’s character and the other is a further look at the shift in policy that no longer turned a blind eye to means of torturing detainees under Obama as opposed to George Bush. I think both were designed to play big parts in this story, but weren’t done very well. Especially when you consider the movie IS over 2 ½ hours long. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad movie, but I think it’s overrated.
As far as performances, I think Jason Clarke as Dan nails every scene he’s in. Unfortunately, he’s not an integral part of the 2nd half of the movie. Jessica Chastain plays the main character, Maya, a woman who sacrificed a decade of having no friends or life to hunt down Bin Laden. According to the movie, she’s allegedly a killer and a bad ass. In reality, Chastain doesn’t really pull that off despite a few cheesy attempts in the back half of the movie. There is one scene with Kyle Chandler she absolutely owns, but for the most part doesn’t do anything spectacular. There are a lot of familiar faces floating throughout this flick. The previously mentioned Kyle (Friday Night Lights Coach) Chandler who continues to be solid in everything he does. Mark Strong is the same way, it’s hard to find a performance he doesn’t nail, and is fantastic in this one James Gandolfini makes a showing as the CIA director. Mark Duplass gives a little bit of comedic relief in a short stint as an analyst. And Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt play members of Seal Team 6 in the good half of the movie.
Overall, the movie isn’t terrible and I think a lot of people will love it. I’m just not a huge fan Kathryn Bigelow’s style of film making and thought The Hurt Locker wasn’t as great as it was made out to be. Zero Dark Thirty misses the mark I’m sure it was going for as far as a tense action/thriller, but that is going to be hard when everyone knows how your movie is going to end. The first two hours drags at a snail’s pace with the exception of some interrogation scenes, but definitely picks up and ends on a high note. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough here to be my pick for best picture winner. While I would recommend that people see it, it may be a better viewing experience in your living room on a comfortable chair or couch.
My verdict? B
Academy Award Nominations:
Best Picture, Best Actress – Jessica Chastain, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing,
So what did you see this weekend? Anything out there that tickles your fancy? Let me know you thoughts