zero dark thirty (2012)

If you thought Katherine Bigelow's 2009, best-picture-winning feature The Hurt Locker dealt with its share of delicate issues and controversial topics, then you might be in the camp that feels Zero Dark Thirty is almost too hot to touch. For anyone who felt that the aforementioned film was a tepid retread of redundant anti-war sentiments, this may be the film for you. Concerned more with the psyche of those who choose to undertake manhunts and government funded execution missions than with casting judgment on the nations, organizations and practices involved, this film digs deep into the ticking time bomb of a brain that is at the core of the "war on terror". It becomes difficult, in the age of alternative media, so-called conspiracy theories and widespread mistrust of authority, to fully latch onto the events in the film, as they're portrayed, as being absolute fact. In conveying a human version of the official story of the death of Osama Bin Laden, however, Zero Dark Thirty emerges as an effective character piece that never plunges into the pitfalls of patriotic ignorance, nor Hollywood exaggeration, to tell us, if nothing else, one simple fact: this assassination by the US government was more about personal vendetta and national wound-fueled revenge than justice. Chastain as a Bigelow surrogate; a woman on a mission, fully embodies the type of obsession and insanity it would take to pull something like this off, and with a taut pacing that justifies its own run-time, the film is a satisfying, albeit routine, examination of the compromised individuals who believe their actions of torture and murder are actually making the world a better place. What fools these mortals be, and what a fascinating 2 1/2 hours.