Showing posts with label kathryn bigelow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kathryn bigelow. Show all posts

10 June 2013

Zero Darky Thirty DVD Review

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After missing Zero Dark Thirty's theatrical run, I settled on straight to DVD alternative Code Name: Geronimo which also detailed US Navy Seal's hunt for Bin Laden as well as the political and military politics building up to this. Whilst the cheaper version was an honourable attempt to portray these events, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty will remain the definitive interpretation of one of the most prominent moments in military history.

Zero Dark Thirty follows Maya (Jessica Chastain) a CIA agent who is inherently driven by the concept of hunting down Bin Laden. We see Maya sit through brutal interrogations with suspected terrorists in her hunt for information, which ultimately leads to threats against her own life. The last segment of the feature details a US Navy Seal team using Maya's intelligence to raid Bin Laden's compound and finally take down the figure-head of Al Qaeda.

Despite a hefty runtime of 157 minutes, Zero Dark Thirty remains fast paced throughout thanks to a sharp screenplay from Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) and energetic direction from Bigelow. Boal's screenplay feels completely convincing in its portrayal of the events (whether it is or not is anyone's guess), with every information/military briefing meeting feeling grounded in tension and political gravitas. Boal's narrative gradually unwinds with every piece of information that Maya learns, allowing Zero Dark Thirty to detailing the highly dangerous world of the CIA.

Bigelow's direction is tense and hold viewer's attentions in a tight-grip throughout. Whether taking an action-centric or more dramatic approach (many of the tracking/discussion sequences are far more gripping than the action ones) Zero Dark Thirty remains completely entrancing. The raid on the compound in the film's conclusion is thrilling, despite reflecting that this was not a clean-cut mission - several innocent people were taken out. Despite this, it is hard not to feel like there is a sinister pleasure behind many of these action scenes - with the quick editing and high-octane style reflecting some form of brutal gung-ho quest for blood and revenge. This can make Zero Dark Thirty feel like a rather dubious, problematic watch.

The cast lead with utter conviction, in particular the magnificent Jessica Chastain who captures Maya's unparalleled drive to end this manhunt - which is truly showcased in the film's final sequence. Supporting turns from Mark Strong, Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, and Chris Pratt also round off the stellar cast. Also look out for an odd appearance from John Barrowman and Brit action favourite Scott Adkins.

There is no doubt that Zero Dark Thirty is a gripping and truly thrilling watch. Boal's screenplay feels like an accurate and detailed depiction of this military manhunt, whilst Bigelow champions this through slick, tense direction. However, it is hard to ignore these sense of gleeful brutality and bloodlust in the film's final act.


Andrew McArthur

Rating: 15
DVD/BD Release Date: 10th June 2013 (UK)
Buy:Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray + UV Copy)
Win: Zero Dark Thirty on Blu Ray (opens up on a The Peoples Movies page)

19 December 2012

Official Trailer to Zero Dark Thirty

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Currently enjoying its fair share of critical praise and controversy here and across the pond, Zero Dark Thirty heads to UK cinemas on the 25th of January, and Universal has just released a new trailer to tide us over in the mean time.

In it we're introduced via brusque and chilly voiceover to Jason Clarke's character, simply named 'Dan', who appears to be addressing a terrorism detainee in a cell. "I am bad news. I am not your friend. I'm not gonna help you. I'm gonna break you. Any questions?" we hear him say, presumably foreshadowing one of the film's more controversial plot elements: systematic and US government approved torture.

Indeed, there has been a bit of a hubbub brewing over the film's handling of this sensitive subject, with some critics arguing that the film inadvertently validates the use of torture through its results-getting depiction, though just as many others have been quick to rise to the film's defence, reinforcing Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal's dense, detailed and thrilling approach to the material.

Heated moral debate around the film always seemed a given, considering the immense severity of the subject matter. Opening with reconstructed emergency calls from 9/11 and charting the ensuing investigative hunt that led to Bin Laden's cathartic demise, Zero Dark Thirty seeks to be a comprehensive document of a tumultuous and generation-defining time in American history, and as such is unavoidably emotionally charged. We'll report back with our full review of the film come January, but until then check out the new trailer below:

The hunt for Osama bin Laden preoccupied the world and two American presidential administrations for more than a decade. But in the end, it took a small, brilliant team of CIA operatives to track him down. Every aspect of their mission was shrouded in secrecy. Though some of the details have since been made public, many of the most significant parts of the intelligence operation-including the central role played by that team-are brought to the screen for the first time in a gripping new film by the Oscar®-winning creative duo of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.

Their account of bin Laden's pursuit and capture, vivid yet faithful to the facts, takes the viewer inside the hubs of power and to the front lines of this historic mission, culminating in the special operations assault on a mysterious, suburban Pakistani compound.