Movie Review – Zero Dark Thirty

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Given a choice I would have given Jessica Chastin the Oscar for Best Actor Female. Such was her performance in this movie. Always serious, always thinking and always plotting a map mentally to capture her prey. What starts as a case of curiosity gradually gets on her and becomes her obsession. By the time she captures Bin Laden she becomes so tired that she doesn’t even know how to celebrate. I would rate this movie on par with The Hurt Locker. It comes next to it when rated finely because of the one scene outside the meeting room where they get permission to go on with the operation. It is the only scene which was cinematic, rest all was just perfect. Thus becoming my second most favorite film in this year’s Oscar.


Don’t know why the jury which celebrated Kathryn Bigelow for her Hurt Locker didn’t even turn its head towards this movie. Is it because they found it repetitive? I don’t think so. There is some mystery behind it which I’m not able to unravel. I didn’t find this movie so much Anti American. She is a director who makes movies based on facts. You could see the attention to details she has given in this movie. Anyone who likes to scrutinize the movie would appreciate the amount of effort that would have gone behind making this movie. I’m one such person.

Another aspect of her film making is that she is not a feminist. Her movies don’t deal with that subject. Whenever ladies direct a movie we could see them trying to exhibit feminism in some part of the story. Take any movie for example Monster, Kanda Naal Mudhal you could say that it’s been directed by a female. We would go on and appreciate saying that, “wow a lady has made this good a movie.” Same appreciation statement would apply for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara where a guys film was directed by a lady. At the end of the film when you know that it’s directed by a lady it makes us to say, “Wow a lady has done such a good job.” But in the case of Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty you appreciate the art not the artist. After watching the film we tend to talk about the movie rather than talking about the director.

Hurt Locker hardly had any female characters and here the lead is a female character. She is not afraid to show woman in a way she likes. She doesn’t bring any feminine insecurity to the character and she doesn’t exaggerate that a female is working so efficiently. She uses the heroine as a character. There is no gender bias here. It requires a lot of skill to make a character this retrospective. Initially planned to make a film on America’s unsuccessful attempt to capture Bin Laden the story took a U turn when the news of Bin Laden’s death reached the ears of Bigelow. They started the movie from scratch again.

Zero Dark Thirty means thirty minutes past midnight, in darkness, the historical moment at which Bin Laden was assassinated. Right from the title every scene is meticulously planned and has purpose. Maya is a young CIA officer who has spent all her life right after her college days in gathering details about Osama Bin Laden. After her many unsuccessful attempts to capture Bin Laden she gets to capture him on May 2nd thus getting what she wanted to achieve throughout her life.

A movie which focuses only on the planning of the execution, on only one event throughout could be made hardly engaging. But the thrill was there throughout the movie. We could hardly see Maya doing things other than work. Even her only friend, a fellow CIA agent gets killed in Camp Chapman Attack. So she’s left to be alone. Being a work aficionado she begins to dig deeper into the case and starts dreaming of the capture of Bin Laden all the while.

The character is similar to that of scientist Kamal who follows the vial in Dasavatharam. People admired and appreciated every other character but when asked by an interviewer Kamal said the scientist Kamal was the toughest to perform because he has to escape from the terrorists, keep the vial safe and add to the misery keep up with Asin’s idiosyncrasies. Similarly Maya too struggles in the middle of no man’s land. She is the only one who is so fond of capturing Bin Laden. She couldn’t talk with anyone when she is sad. She could neither share her happiness nor her sorrow with her colleagues. No one shares the passion that she has towards her job. So even when she gets to achieve her goal she doesn’t know how to celebrate her success. In a way these scenes tell us the importance of friends too. Loneliness too is attributed to the overall background theme of the movie.

The biggest disadvantage of loneliness is you don’t find any inspiration when you falter. Maya is seen restless throughout because she couldn’t get what she want. In most of the scene she constantly keeps thinking and walks here and there without purpose. An individual to pull up herself at that juncture is very tough but Maya manages to do so.

The climax scene is the most brilliant of all. The cops celebrating the death of Bin Laden in a funny way by shooting self portraits and Maya identifying the corpse and searching for a way to express her happiness were brilliantly shot. She is asked to get on a huge plane where she is the only passenger. The steward says, “you must be one important person to take the whole flight for you.” But by that time she is not even in a stage to take compliments. She sits and silently cries. This cry could be that of happiness or the thought of future, what it holds for her. I’d like to know what happened to Maya after that. A movie could be made out of this too. It’s highly impossible but the movie if made would be good because there is a lot of scope to analyze, again!


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