‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is honest, bold

Pitchforks: 5/5

Rating: R

Release: Jan. 11


Photo Courtesy of Movie Fone Photo Courtesy of Movie Fone

Before its nationwide release, "Zero Dark Thirty" has already won 21 awards and 24 nominations from multiple award shows. "Zero Dark Thirty" has won the most awards of any movie to come out 2012. Also, "Zero Dark Thirty" is predicted to win an onslaught of awards for this year’s Oscars. So, why is this film gaining so much attention?

Chronicling the events from 2003 all the way to 2011, a young CIA officer named Maya (Jessica Chastain) spends more than eight years with the sole mission of hunting down Osama bin Laden. "Zero Dark Thirty" is a film that is fueled with facts and relishes in its details. The director, Kathryn Bigelow, focused on how events actually happened.

"Zero Dark Thirty" accurately shows an unfamiliar part of the world to Americans. There are no political slants and no external, ethical commentary on what transpired. Everything in "Zero Dark Thirty" is laid out on the table, and Bigelow trusts the audience to take the facts as they will. For example, the movie starts out with Maya partaking in torturing a detainee for information. "Zero Dark Thirty" never steps back and talks about if what happened was moral; it only shows the necessity of their actions.

The quality of a movie lays in its execution, and "Zero Dark Thirty" flawlessly pulled this off. The film felt like it was shot on dozens of locations, with countless people involved the background. The actors in the foreground didn’t feel like actors, but real people. At times, the movie becomes a documentary in the viewers’ mind because of the seamless transitions of reality and fiction.

Having Maya as the constant thread throughout the film made "Zero Dark Thirty" coherent. The character gave a relatable and sympathetic face to the events that Americans only heard on the news beforehand. Chastain dazzled audiences with her role in "Tree of Life," but she encompasses the character and becomes Maya in "Zero Dark Thirty."

The greatest aspect of the film is underplayed. "Zero Dark Thirty" could be one of the best feminist movies to come out in recent memory. The movie trailers advertise the pro-America, military aspects of "Zero Dark Thirty," but the movie is actually centered on how a woman dominated a man’s field: CIA intelligence.

Male higher-ups constantly hold Maya back on her pursuit for bin Laden during the entirety of the movie. How Maya handled herself is the heart and soul of the film. Maya is portrayed as a well-rounded, smart and tough female with admirable dedication to her goal. With most Hollywood films focusing on male leads, the focus on a female lead in "Zero Dark Thirty" is refreshing.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a film that every American should see. The film depicts how America deals with terrorism with brutal honesty. There is a reason why this film won so many awards: because it deserved it. "Zero Dark Thirty" arrives in theaters nationwide Jan. 11.


Reach the reporter at tverti@asu.edu

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