Zero Dark Thirty is a true life story centred around the obsessive C.I.A. analyst who was most responsible for locating Osama Bin Laden.
Katheryn Bigelow’s Oscar winner is very much like a combination of her previous film The Hurt Locker, and TV series The Wire. The bulk of the film is made up of cold-war style espionage as telephones are tapped and suspects trailed to the door of America’s most wanted. In fact she does not shy away from the dubious tactics employed by the U.S. in extracting information from its persons of interest, although one would have to say that although the film does not condone these actions, it falls short of condemning them as well. This information gathering section of the film can feel a little dry and over long because of the lack of human drama, but it’s all leading up to a nail biting, documentary-style piece de resistance as we participate in the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in gripping detail, which Bigelow presents as little more than an execution rather than a fire fight.
I was dubious of the central character’s emotional outburst at the close – as if a woman were only capable of emotionally expressing herself through tears – but it’s a fascinating piece of recent history that is refreshing in its lack of Gung Ho, US of A brand flag waving.