film review: Hunt for Bin Laden much more than a zero, but much less than a 10

Elizabeth Golden

Out of all Oscar nominated films, “Zero Dark Thirty” is one of the worst on the list. It’s a good film by all definitions of the word, but it lacks several key parts to make it enjoyable. Complete with an intriguing plot, powerful acting and an outstanding directorial style, “Zero Dark Thirty” proves to be well done but has an absence of everything that makes a film worthwhile.

Set in post 9/11 Pakistan, “Zero Dark Thirty” is the story of CIA operative, Maya (Jessica Chastain), who believes she found the location of Osama Bin Laden after a decade of searching. She experiences ups and downs while occasionally overseeing torture and being faced with the constant threat of death. Her superiors and co-workers doubt her competence but she never loses sight of her goal, and eventually all her hard work pays off.

Even though the ending is inevitable and highly publicized, it is filmed in a very anticlimactic way. After years of searching, they find and kill Bin Laden with only a few bullets. There is no emotional tension or no feelings are triggered from the audience. He was alive, they found him, they killed him, the end. This didn’t feel like much of an accomplishment, but simply another day on the job. Since killing the biggest terrorist in the world happens on a daily basis, right? More emotions could have been brought about by possibly adding in a nice slow motion shot or some heart felt music, but no, the ending was played off without drama or without anyone really caring.

The rest of the film was exceptionally good for the most part. There were some slow moments, but the director, Kathryn Bigelow, made up for it with her unpredictable scenes of suspense. After winning five Oscars in 2008 for the phenomenal “The Hurt Locker,” Bigelow has definitely created a name for herself.  She is known for extreme suspense followed by unlikely moments of quiet. Although this technique worked very well in “The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty” comes across as boring overall.

Even though the film may be boring and may lack entertainment value, every other aspect of the film is spectacular. Bigelow knows how to capture the most intense aspects of the scene and does an exceptional job with the intense subject matter. The acting is another amazing part of the film. Chastain deserves the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and she will most likely receive this award.

The film is also nominated for Best Achievement in Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The editing was outstanding and the screenplay was well done, but there is no guarantee “Zero Dark Thirty” will leave with many golden statues. For any other year, this film would sweep the floor, but considering the amount of entertainment produced this year, the film most likely will only receive a Best Actress award.

However, “Zero Dark Thirty” did win the AFI Movie of the Year award and The BSFC Best Film award, so there is a possibility of it also stealing the Oscar’s Best Film award.

Overall, this film is exceptionally well done from a production standpoint, but lacks entertainment value. Those looking for a “good” film, but not for mindless entertainment purposes should only see this. “Zero Dark Thirty” is Oscar bait, but is unlikely to be able to compete with the other well-done and entertaining films.

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