Archive for the ‘DIRECTED BY: Cathryn Bigelow’ Category

Zero Dark Thirty

13 Jan

Zero Dark Thirty – directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Docudrama. The story of a young woman’s ten year manhunt for Osama bin Laden and his assassination by her. 157 minutes Color 2013.
I felt unsatisfied.

Oh, I felt a good deal of tension in the execution of certain passages, such as the actual flight that night into Pakistan by the Navy Seals. And I was held by the authentic look of the ruckus of the operation in action. I felt that must have been much like what is was like.

But I didn’t see Osama bin Laden shot. It was reported as having taken place “upstairs”. Odd camera angles hedge the moment when Jessica Chastain, the CIA agent working to bring him to ground, unzips the body bag, as though the mortality of that well known face were for the satisfaction of her eyes alone. But our satisfaction is left out of the picture.

Other odd things stumped me. I did not understand the story purpose of the extensive torture scenes, beautifully played though they are by Reda Kateb and Jason Clarke, since, unless I am mistaken, torture yielded nothing in the way of leads. I can understand those scenes as giving us a picture of Jessica Chastain hardening to her task. However, since as a character, she comes out of nowhere, has no family no friends, no past, and in the end no future, her development as a human is irrelevant. All we need is an actress who can go from compliant to implacable, and this Chastain brings to the role as part of her nature; we do not need a story to reveal it; the actress herself is the story.

The film is confetti-edited, and hard to look at. As humans, we do not live out the stories of our lives in nanosecond splices. To walk to end of the block takes three minutes. That’s how our stories are told, not in tiny inscrutable bits of flash. Confetti editing is a resort to blanket a feeble tale. And the film’s first part’s partly inaudible. My bias is that if actors say something, you should, unless the film is Altmanized, be able understand exactly what those words are. I also felt the escape from bin Laden’s compound was cut short; there was a whole bunch of soldiers I saw left behind, as the damaged helicopter was demolished.

As filmed it is never less than spectacular. Pakistan looks chaotically beautiful and therefore hopeless. I loved seeing it, and all the settings. It’s beautifully cast and well-acted by everyone, and Chastain holds our interest by not attempting to. She’s someone one can play respectful attention to. I watch her, I wonder about her, I care for her, and I don’t want her to be hurt. I felt a sense of her accomplishment in the assassination. He needed to be put out of our misery.

But, as this is the one picture that will go down as a record of the mission, I feel cheated of a sense of its authenticity. My curiosity was not satisfied. No one applauded.

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button