Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Zero Dark Thirty
The Greatest Manhunt in History
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.
That's a very grudging three stars, because — like Flight — there's more to chew on than I initially realized, but I still think it's kind of a crappy movie. Let me count the ways:
1) The first third in particular wore me down. I exceedingly dislike the way Bigelow transforms 7/7, the 2008 Islamabad Marriott bombing and the bombing of Camp Chapman into standard suspense setpieces (when will that explosive go off?). The latter particularly rubbed the wrong way: the longer Bigelow keeps intercutting between Maya's chat window and the guilelessly optimistic CIA officials awaiting their big break is downright sadistic. (It was just another gchat session UNTIL.) Is there intent here to make the viewer tensely ever-expectant of…
I feel deeply conflicted by this film. While I admire its scope I have great difficulties with the way it presents it, both in content and in cinematic quality.
Let me start by saying that Bigelow should earn nothing but respect for taking on such an ambitious project. I am not a big fan of hers as a director (and she betrays here weaknesses here as well), but I always admire artists who dare to push the boat out a bit further than the rest or take on a challenge with both hands.
Chronicling a decade long man-hunt for the world's public enemy number one is no small task. Mark Boal's script comes across as fastidiously researched, giving us a…
Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial drama about the ten-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden, comes with more baggage than most movies. It was released a mere year after the culmination of the investigation that finished with bin Laden being killed in Pakistan. The film has been plagued by vocal detractors criticising its stance on torture whilst the war on terror still remains a contentious subject for politicians and public alike. It is therefore a film that is impossible to evaluate on its own merits as it is intrinsically linked to the politics of our age.
Bigelow and writer-producer, Mark Boal, smartly navigate this perilous minefield delivering a tense thriller and investigative drama that follows one CIA officer’s obsessive quest…
"It's her against the world." - The Wolf
Ah...I feel sick. That was officially the most intense cinematic experience I've ever had. Picture this: a black-box theatre that's more like a small screening room, every seat taken, surround sound. It opens with a black screen, with only the sounds of the weeping, panicking victims of the 9/11 attacks. It's uncomfortable, it's dark, and it's sure as hell upsetting. Welcome to Zero Dark Thirty, kids; the tone is set.
There's been much controversy over the use of torture to make the 'good guys' armour look more than just a bit tarnished, and the furore is justified. In the first 30 minutes, there are numerous instances of brutal, humiliating, unrelenting torture, that…
This movie commits two cardinal sins of film-making.
The first is that is doesn't build up the threat. What's at stake? We are all aware that this is based on allegedly real events, but the goal these characters are so vehemently pursuing doesn't feel important because the threat is never seen. He was allegedly responsible for many acts of terrorism in real life, but where is this *in the movie*? There's a quick allusion to 9/11 in the beginning, but that is just not enough. I felt the same way at the end as I did at the start because nobody was feeling any effects of the threat at any point throughout the entire story. Simply put, it feels like…
Zero Dark Thirty comes as one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Jessica Chastain has been nominated for an Oscar and multiple other awards. It's sparked debate with it's scenes of torture. There's a lengthy and very interesting debate about it in Dirk's review thread. All of this had me really curious what I'd make of it.
Well I gotta say I was a bit underwhelmed. I could tell you my political views, but I'd rather just talk about it simply as a film.
As a film, I felt it was good but nowhere near as good as the critical praise would suggest. It's damn near 3 hours long so I was very surprised at the lack…
Screen 3, Seat L31
The concluding 40 minutes are just impeccable. Precision filmmaking from an auteur at the peak of her powers.
Zero Dark Thirty is even better on the rewatch; it's a exploration of details - paper chasing, conversing and debating - Kathryn Bigelow burrows deep into the fractured facade of the US military and the world's most high-profile manhunt.
Suspenseful narrative about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, thankfully told without unnecessary pathos.
"Can I be honest with you? I am not your friend. I am bad fuckin' news." Jason Clarke is not in this movie a heck of a lot, but he makes a huge impact. One of the best movies of the last decade.
Watched with Chris, Matt, and Nikki.
I had a dream last night about this movie. I was ushered into a room with Osama bin Laden. I did not feel hatred for him . . . more a sense of wonder. This only served to reinforce how highly conflicted I am about the ongoing war against terrorism - a deep ambivalence which I could not separate from my interaction with this movie.
Was the assassination of bin Laden an act of US heroism, a final victory over the terrorism inflicted on the West on 9/11? It seemed timely that I should watch this movie at a time when Islamic extremists are once again on centre stage with their acts of horrific terrorism. And once again I wonder…
I liked it even more the second time around. The raid sequence is still fantastically riveting. But this time I bought into the Chastain character more. I would be very curious to see a version of the film where they did not find Bin Laden and Chastain's obsessiveness was unfulfilled in a Zodiac way.
I mean, it's no Point Break.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kathryn Bigelow's boldly ambitious dramatisation of the search that led to the execution of Osama Bin Laden is simply one of the most gripping procedurals ever made. Based on the research and interviews that formed the basis of Hurt Locker alum Mark Boal's clinical script, what specifics may be missing are more than compensated by the evident fire that courses through every scene, epitomised by Jessica Chastain's fully committed central performance. The breadth of scope is as impressive as the density of detail, and the climactic raid on Abbottabad is one of the finest sustained pieces of action cinema in recent memory. The controversy that greeted the film's release now seems beside the point; it neither endorses or overtly criticises…
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My six hundred favorite films (1940-2014); 615-639 are not ordered yet.