What to Read Next

'Zero Dark Thirty' - an attempt at self-aggrandisement

Indo Asian News Service
15 February 2013

B00y Troy Ribeiro

Film: "Zero Dark Thirty"; Actors: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler and Reda Kateb; Director: Kathryn Bigelow; Rating: *1/2

"Zero Dark Thirty" seems to be an American propaganda film as it does not shed much light on the truth that shrouds the death of Osama bin Laden, the man America was chasing since Sep 11, 2001. The film, in a nutshell, is motivational and applauds the CIA's attempt of a job that America believes, was brilliantly done after a decade of perseverance.

The film begins like an amateur's attempt at filmmaking. The white screen simply states Sep 11, 2001. What follows is a blank screen with a constant rattle of varying decibels overlapped with voices. The audio gets deafening and incomprehensible leaving you disgruntled and agitated.

The film leaps to 2003 in Saudi Arabia, in a place that does not exist, a black site. Maya (Jessica Chastain) watches as her colleague Dan (Jason Clarke) interrogates an Arab prisoner (Reda Kateb) who they suspect of having connections with Bin Laden. "If you lie to me, I hurt you. I am not your friend. I am going to break you," Dan yells at the prisoner, who is bound, bruised, and not telling the Americans what they need to know. These early scenes are uncomfortable and horrific.

As the film progresses, the next forty minutes is cantankerous, torture-ridden and verbose with conversation having no link or making any sense. Initially, finding the thread to the narration is similar to the CIA's mission of finding the brain behind the 9/11 attack - "a needle in the haystack".

The narration finds stability in the last one hour when it introduces a human element. The long narrative marvelously settles on Maya and her dispassionate account of how she slowly, obsessively and inexorably moves closer and closer towards her goal.

She navigates a treacherous puzzle of dishonest suspects, coded names and suicide bombers, who know how to wriggle their way into a US safety zone. Some of her strategy is almost funny, as when she gets Dan, back in the States, to hit up the agency for 200 grand - all to buy a Lamborghini for a stooge in Kuwait who will provide a key phone number.

Luckily for her, she finds allies in the CIA director (James Gandolfini), who is impressed by her intelligence, intensity and brutally frank talk, and later also with the sardonic Navy SEALS who are tasked with bringing the fire directly to Bin Laden.

Mark Boal's script carefully manipulates historical terrorist attacks and flits from being a detective story to a thriller. The sequence of events that occurs in Pakistan, Britain, Poland, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Abbotabad in Pakistan smoothly fits like a jigsaw puzzle and the mission is accomplished at half past twelve. The film's title is a military time reference.

As the central character, Chastain gives what might very well be her best performance to date. But in spite of her intelligence, intensity and brutally frank talk it becomes hard to relate to Maya, as it is unimaginable - the choices she has to make with her position within the CIA.

Aside from Chastian, the rest of the cast is equally impressive. Jason Clarke is perfect as a man who is assigned to torture Kateb.

Kyle Chandler as the dismissive US Embassy Station Chief in Pakistan; Mark Strong as the hard-to-convince boss at the CIA's Virginia headquarters; Stephen Dillane as the twice-shy National Security Advisor, and James Gandolfini as the CIA director are worth a mention.

While the cinematographer Greig Fraser has captured the visuals effectively, there seem to be a couple of goof-ups at the production end. The market place and road scenes, which are passed off as Pakistan, clearly indicate that those were shot in India and similarly, some other locations lack authenticity.

If, in "Zero Dark Thirty", Kathryn Bigelow seeks to tell the story as it occurred, then Hollywood obviously has a clear-cut agenda.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

An Overlooked Method To Pay Off Your Credit Card

If you're paying credit card interest, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by transferring your balance to this no-fee card.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Get This Once-In-A-Lifetime Deal Before It's Gone!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

T-Mobile has 2X the LTE coverage since 2014.

T-Mobile doubled its LTE coverage since 2014 so you can do more in more places. Check your coverage today. Capable device req’d.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular plan option, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Reconnect With Your High School Friends

Classmates® has the largest directory of high school class lists. Remember the good times and reconnect to create new memories.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Men Flooding to GNC For This?

A scientific revolution is helping aging men build new muscle and it will blow you away.