Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty - poster final

Cinema Monolith: 8/10 Film Reel
IMDb: 7.4/10
The Arizona Republic: ***** out of 5

Released on December 19, 2012
Rated R
157 minutes

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Written by Mark Boal

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgarton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Taylor Kinney, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini, Harold Perrineau, Frank Grillo

Director Kathryn Bigelow returns to familiar wartime territory with this documentary-like account of the hunt for terrorist Osama bin Laden, as seen through the eyes of a female CIA officer—played by Jessica Chastain in an award-nominated performance—and her years-long commitment to finding the elusive al-Queda leader, and her tireless dedication to gathering information on a courier who may have a direct link to where bin Laden is hiding out.

Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal kept you riveted with the long buildup of intel and and the process of prepping for the raid, then delivered a tension-filled finale when the SEAL team was sent in for the kill, an incredible sequence that had me death-gripping my armrests with nervous anticipation. In the end, what surprised me more than anything was that, even though I knew the outcome of the story, there was enough behind-the-scenes material that was new to me that made the film not only fresh, but an educational experience as well.

Chastain was quite good and believable as Maya, who grows from a nervous, hesitant employee to a strong and confident member of the team, and her character was reportedly based on an actual woman, and aspects of several other women involved in the mission. Along with the other characterizations, I’ll have to the assume that the film stuck with realistic portrayals of incidents and situations, and if that’s the case, then the backlash and outcry over the numerous torture scenes, where brutality was used for information gathering, was to be expected.

Yes, the presentation of these tactics were perhaps asking for controversy, but you know what? These terrorist low-lifes were responsible for murdering thousands of innocent people, so for me these depictions were more than acceptable, true or not. As for the film itself, as cinema I found it to be more entertaining than The Hurt Locker, and historically a fascinating account of a landmark moment in U.S. military history.  (8/10)

Zero Dark Thirty - photo

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Review Totals

Movies Reviewed: 227

From the Monolith: 125

Movies by Decade

1920s – 0
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1940s – 19
1950s – 37
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Movies by Genre

Action/Adventure – 42
Comedy – 35
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Documentary – 5
Drama – 26
Horror – 38
Musical – 1
Mystery/Thriller – 19
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Western – 8

Movies by CM Rating

10 star – 10
9 star – 28
8 star – 36
7 star – 31
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4 star – 24
3 star – 18
2 star – 20
1 star – 12
0 star – 3

Movies by MPAA Rating

Pre-1968 – 91
G – 1
PG – 32
PG-13 – 34
R – 60
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