Zero Dark Thirty is an intense and riveting but clinical suspense drama.

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man. — (C) Official Site

The film is a straightforward but riveting crime procedural drama. There are no expositions, but its compensated by a well executed plot.

It didn’t sensationalize the manhunt nor took sides. Violence from both camps showed the human cost of zealotry. While suicide bombers took lives, the CIA tortures detainees in an attempt to squeeze out information.

Jessica Chastain delivers a great performance as the dogged CIA agent. Her performance, with the film’s detailed look and feel, makes for a believable exhausting chase. The supporting cast shouldn’t be overlooked too as Jason Clarke stands out.

But when her job is finally done, you don’t feel for the character whose relentless pursuit had pretty much sapped her humanity. The story is mainly propelled by the plot which has no time to care for any of its characters.  It also simplifies the complex “war on terrorism” and Al-Qaeda into a single chase. All of this turn it into an impersonal film about workplace drama.

Zero Dark Thirty is a sharp and intelligent film about a defining moment in history. The film inevitably raises an age old but still critical question, and while it doesn’t offer any answers, it makes you think if the human cost is worth it.

My Rating: 8.5/10

Side Comments:

The movie is getting a lot of criticism as a pro-torture film. First of all, the blame should be pointed at the people who approved and/or participated in the program. Second, it was ineffective anyway.

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