It can't be denied that "Zero Dark Thirty" is an explosively entertaining film about what is arguably one of the most scrutinized manhunts in history, but there's a dark side to this film and the truths it's supposed to represent.
Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, is a tough as nails agent who believes she knows the whereabouts of Bin Laden. She must convince her mostly male coworkers that she is right about his whereabouts and can finally put an end to the ten-year long chase that has developed for Bin Laden.
There's been a lot of controversy surrounding this film and its depiction of torture. The film itself doesn't comment on whether or not it's good or bad, it just depicts it how it's been told to the filmmakers. "Zero Dark Thirty" asks the viewer to make up his or her mind about it. According to the film, information gathered through the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" is useful in locating Bin Laden. It's this that will split some viewers. There will be those who think the use of torture, regardless of the circumstances, is wrong, and others who believe that it's alright if done for the greater good. As for myself, the issue with torture is that the person being tortured will speak one way or another, but the information is then in question. It's a slippery slope, but one I can't approve of.
For a film that takes place in the Middle East, where explosions are a daily occurrence, "Zero Dark Thirty" does the expected and tries to use this to its advantage in order to shock and startle the audience, but the thing is is that I already know where this movie takes place. I'm expecting shocks like that. When it actually does happen it's good to just be able to get it out of the way and move on with the story. It doesn't pack much of an emotional wallop and serves only as a reminder of the dangers of the region.
I also wasn't impressed with Jessica Chastain's performance. A lot of praise has been given to her, but her acting was wooden. I suppose this is in line with her character, but I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to fawn over a frozen face that shows no emotion. From the get go, I was puzzled as to why critics were lavishing so much praise upon her. It's really not necessary.
However, this film is not without its positive angles. The story itself is actually quite thrilling and the final raid of Bin Laden's compound is heart pounding and looks like it would be accurate of the actual event.
"Zero Dark Thirty" is entertaining, but its depictions may be ultimately off-putting to some viewers.