Zero Dark Thirty (2013)

SUB-24ZERO-articleLargeStarring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

R. 157 mins

A taught thriller that fascinates and engages audiences in a discussion that needs to be had. The film reunites journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), who demonstrates once more that her skills go far beyond mere storytelling. Bigelow documents a deeply controversial event while consistently pushing audiences to draw their own conclusions. The film stars Jessica Chastain as Maya, one of many (predominantly male) intelligence and military operatives all over the world who spent a decade hunting for Osama bin Laden. Maya’s obsession leaves her without a life outside of the task at hand and it would appear that Bigelow treated the film similarly; The evidence is delivered methodically and while we are all aware of the final outcome, the pacing is no less intense and the ending no less cathartic. With more character development and some tightening of the search, this could have been an instant classic. Regardless, Chastain’s performance is unforgettable as the wolf cloaked in silky features and Bigelow’s convincing direction make for a tale that’s difficult to watch, but hard to ignore. Inspiring and deeply complex, Zero Dark Thirty is an impossibly ambitious achievement made with relentless conviction – * * * *

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