Kathryn Bigelow has scored again (“The Hurt Locker”) with this meticulous, intricate scenario of the decade long hunt and slaying of the world’s most sought after terrorist, Osama Bin Laden; she is religious in depicting the reality of the quest and CIA operative “Maya’s” intransigent dedication to finding this heinous villain. Jessica Chastain gives a quietly explosive performance as a woman whose vision and mission will not be swayed or felled by mere government officials; Maya’s entire career has been informed by the crusade to capture/death of the madman who visited upon the Unites States its worst massacre and the demise of a freedom so pure, so entrenched in democracy, never to be tasted again.
The means to attain the accomplishment of this task have been seriously questioned; does the end ever justify extreme measures? Would the goal have been met if torture was not employed? Maya watches, exhibiting little emotion, as water boarding is deployed on terrorist captives. These men have been trained to die and it took gargantuan pressure and degradation to expropriate any information from them; judgment must be held to a higher power.
“Zero Dark Thirty” references ground zero (commencing with a blank screen and the voices of the dying victims in the twin towers); darkness, subterfuge and circuitous routes to the house in Abbottabad; and the military jargon for the “thirty” blackest minutes after midnight. The concluding half hour is brilliantly filmed: beefy, hairy Navy Seals, navigate and land Black Hawk helicopters; with night-vision goggles we accompany these heroic men as they methodically roam from room –to- room, killing the culprits, desperately, humanely sparing the women and children. Osama Bin Laden’s corpse, almost anticlimactic after the successful enactment of one the most monumental search- and- destroy missions ever brought to fruition. This flawless, pristine filmmaking leaves one in awe of its wizardly. Unfortunately, reflecting the truth, not fiction.