Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Starring Jason Clarke, Reda Kateb, Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler


Bigelow does a great job making a man’s movie. Perhaps it’s a woman’s touch that makes it so good. In this movie about brutality, military strategy, and political maneuvering, Maya’s emotional journey is in the forefront. While the final action scene was dramatically motivated and suspenseful, it took away some of the story’s emotional momentum. Perhaps telling the story of one of the SEAL team commandos would have balanced the movie nicely.

Natural, believable casting. Chastain is a bad-ass. With that fiery red hair and an eerie calm, she has a Bryce Dallas Howard quality. Clarke is also a bad-ass. A whole movie could be made about his story. Ehle and Gandolfini and Chandler and Fares all turn in effective supporting performances. Edgerton, a tough guy who can act, is wasted with a minor role.

Was I imagining it, or were there lesbian undertones between Maya and Jessica? The “don’t eat out, it’s too dangerous” quote had wonderful double-meaning.

Nice pace, no overdramatic score, nicely shot. The hand-held cam is effective, giving the film a nice energy without being overused or shaky.

America’s recent wars have given us movies like Three Kings (1999), Jarhead (2005), The Kingdom (2007), The Hurt Locker (2008), Brothers (2009), Green Zone (2010), and Zero Dark Thirty, all dramatic and intense. Any chance we get a comedy anytime soon the way that Vietnam gave us MASH? Perhaps we’re a different America today…

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