Zero Dark Thirty

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. With Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Taylor Kinney, Mark Duplass, Frank Grillo, Stephen Dillane, Edgar Ramirez, Harold Perrineau, Reda Kateb, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini

The Marvel of A-political Film Journalism
by gaRis (@takisgaris)

In all honesty, I don’t consider myself an ardent Kathryn Bigelow fan. Nope, I didn’t quite fancy Point Break either. The next inevitable question involves my take on The Hurt Locker. Well, let me start this way: Who could have thought Bigelow had this testosterone-overpacked hyena of a militaristic film in her? Then again I check Mark Boal: Journalist turned screenwriter. Talking crisp, no BS, matter-of-fact-ish script. Gazing at this technical marvel of crypto-republican, reactionary a-political pathos, I rest assured that I’ve been watching the same Boal agenda unfolding again. The kind of torture – embracing, murder – ridden storytelling that is dexterously caressing the high-browed film critics’ prostates, posing as the ballsy, earth-shuttering, gut-wrenching anti-war film at best, or better, as an unconventional de-construction of the timeless war logic, where no one is innocent and the truth is elusive, demoralized by masculine politics of fear and oppression.

Hence, Zero Dark Thirty (means 30 min. after midnight, the exact time when public enemy no 1, Al Quada’s evil frontman Osama Bin Laden was gunned down by Navy Seals Team at his mansion in Abottabad, Pakistan) is a spoiler – free depiction of the reason(s) why and how Barrack Obama secured his second US Presidency term. It’s, by any comparison, Argo’s big daddy, in the sense that it’s arguably a much more realised funnelling of all things US foreign policy in its military-espionage essence. ZDT is humourless, elongated and obsessive over every painstaking detail, reminiscent of Fincher’s meticulous (but evenly boring) Zodiac. Maya’s character, a hardboiled mastermind that hunts down Laden for seven years is a steely, zealous nobody, with no friends and relatives. Jessica Chastain carries this vessel of a character in her tiny shoulders with bravery and hypertension, ready to implode any minute along the way until her final triumph which leaves her without any aim to accomplish. The exact same feeling we witness Jeremy Renner suffering from in The Hurt Locker, another high adrenaline junkie that feels dislocated as soon as he shies away from battlefield.

Zero Dark Thirty is a solemn, almost entertain-less take on American warfare, rather untimely though, describing an assassination taking place just in May 2011. Even the chilling opening sequence, mixing the desperate 9/11 victims’ phone calls provides for considerable unease, and someone stop me from uttering this but it was last January when everyone (including me) called Extremely loud and Incredibly Close eye-duct porn and now that Bigelow grabs our neck and force feeds with real tragedy from the kick start, you have the majority of film criticism raving about the most important cinematic event of the year. Well, if you asked me about that three years ago, I could swear it was Avatar, but, there you go, The Hurt Locker took that Goliath down. I don’t want to read like Brett Easton Ellis hacked my account at MoviesLtd but if Bigelow were a man I could instantly see the fascination around her recent work (meaning her collaboration with her now ex-lover Mark Boal) dissipate rapidly.

Having argued that and thus moving forward, in the most technical sense, Zero Dark Thirty is an absolute success, even so of the oscar-worthy kind. Hands down a perfectly edited piece of work (by William Goldenberg, M. Mann’s editor who also cut…Argo this year) and Dylan Tichenor (P.T. Anderson’s right hand who also cut Affleck’s The Town) are paired with fluid, grainy, numbing cinematography by Greig Fraser (Let me In, Snow White and the Huntsman). Alexandre Desplat scores another oriental piece after his superior work in Argo (also note his impressive portfolio in 2012 including Rise of The Guardians, Rust and Bone and Moonrise Kingdom, the latter being my favourite), all in all this is a dream crew that over-delivers Bigelow’s predictable procedural.

Conclusion: Zero Dark Thirty could be a movie which could signify a lot more, offering an explanation as to why this Al Qaeda terrorism thrived and how US world- policing foreign diplomacy failed to isolate its catastrophic course. Instead, Bigelow continues to play with the notion of war-addicted servicemen or (now) women who have grown a pair. It took her 157 minutes to get there, too long for a journey that no spectator is given enough reason to take, other than pure torture/murder voyeurism.

World Premiere: 4 January 2013

1 σχόλια:

Moto G 4G LTE είπε...

It is a searing and riveting film, but one that doesn't take the easy way out and give short shrift to the complex emotions at play.

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