Genre Grandeur – Zero Dark Thirty (2012)


For our next Genre Grandeur review – War, Here’s a review of Zero Dark Thirty by Tom of DigitalShortbread.

I love his rating system for movies because it always gets my mouth watering (and the reviews are great too) 🙂

If you don’t already follow him, I strongly recommend you do so.

It still isn’t too late to send me your reviews for this months Genre, just shoot me an email with your review by 27th of August (yes, I’ve extended the deadline due to my vacation).

Let’s see what Tom thinks about this movie…

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zdtZero Dark Thirty

Number of times seen – 1 (February 6, 2013)

Brief Synopsis – “A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.” – IMDb

My take on it – Data-dense but never diluted by that fact, Kathryn Bigelow’s emphasis on the hustle-and-bustle of counter-terrorism efforts in the wake of one of the most horrific attacks on American soil is an impressive film as it manages to deliver modern-Hollywood thrills in the form of an absolutely breathtaking finale while delving deep(ish) into the unpleasantness that goes on behind closed doors.

Not to be misinterpreted, it won’t be the fact you get to “see” America’s No. 1 Most Wanted Man (as of that point in time, anyway) on-screen that will take your breath away. Instead, it’s the powerful juxtaposition of an intense military operation sequence (the “action” of the film, if you will) capping off almost two hours’ worth of pointed dialogue and. . . well, the manhunt itself that spanned approximately a decade.

That might not sound like a ringing endorsement to go see this film. Make no mistake, this is a war film but its emphasis ain’t on the front lines. Well, not on the physical ones anyway. Instead, Bigelow chases down several high-profile government officials who helped narrow the search for bin Laden — a mightily impossible task if we are being even the least bit calm about this — and makes them into heroes, but ones we can actually buy into and stand behind.

There’s of course Jessica Chastain as Maya Lambert, a young CIA officer whose rare work ethic is chiefly responsible for cracking into this impossibly dense network of information, statistics and cross-firing opinions, theories and suspicions. If the sheer volume of the former doesn’t swamp even the most devoted government official, the overwhelming excesses of the human mouth and brain working in sync surely has a good chance of finishing said person off. Bigelow exercises patience in how her film presents this deep-seated sense of hopelessness and aimless wandering — be it a physical or emotional one — amidst an environment that perhaps couldn’t be any more tense.

If one is entering Zero Dark Theory with the assumption that there will be an action sequence strategically placed every fifty yards or so, that person will surely be left disappointed. They’ve also mostly missed the point of this discussion. Bigelow is fearlessly going after the individuals responsible for the mass murder of thousands of innocent people via delicately constructed rhetoric and logical reasoning. Again, in an environment where excesses of both frequently spill forth and cloud what’s objective reality. The hunt for Osama bin Laden was not easy. Watch this film and find out precisely why. It’s fantastic.

Bottom line – Top-notch performances from an all-star cast boost an already intriguing story to a whole new level. Where conversation turns to conviction at the film’s conclusion, the film is never better. This isn’t the most typical war movie ever made, but it’s one not to be skipped out on, particularly for the modern generation growing up in this violent little world of ours.

Rating – Oscar worthy

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Thanks again Tom

10 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

    • Thanks again man, I tried to think of something different. 🙂 Yeah the conclusion to this packs a wollop, doesn’t it? Love it. Such a tense slow burner until a magnificent and inspiring final act.

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  1. Great review Tom. In all honesty, I have tried numerous times to make it through this movie and I have yet to finish it. It has a great cast and all that, its just nothing seems to be catching me, which is bizarre because I am a huge fan of movies like this usually… maybe I will try it again sometime!

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    • There’s a ton of talking in it. Just a ton. In fact, I now vividly recall Eric’s rant about those two movies with just nothing but talking in it. Talk talk talk talk talk. He had a pretty great post about it. I wonder if he has seen this? And what he thinks?

      But I think u should eventually come back around to watching it all the way through. It’s not like that the entire time, for the conclusion is a serious heart-pounding action ride.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha yeah, Eric is NOT a overly talkative fan. I actually have no problem with a lot of speech in movies, I actually like it. BUT this one just… I don’t know. Maybe someday I will try it, and maybe that someday will be the try that I make it all the way through in 😛

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    • Whatchu waiting for Mutey?? 🙂

      A recommendation from me means u need to get on it automatically. Lol. nah.

      And war movies aren’t my specialty either, I just found this one to be one of the more recent ones I saw and didn’t think anyone else might review it so I thought why not! 😉

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  2. Pingback: Genre Grandeur August Finale – Where Eagles Dare (1968) |

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