The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…
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 it 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…
KB is a genius and god damn can she direct a strong female lead
Slow at times, but still an important (and ambivalent) act of history. What does it mean to kill Bin Laden? The devastating first and final scenes of this film contextualizes an entire life around 9/11 and killing Bin Laden. What does it mean to be born to revenge the deaths of thousands? And where do you go once "Justice has been done."
More like Zero characterization, ho ho ho. It's great visceral filmmaking, and engrossing, but the characters are basically non-entities, no motivation, no personality, nothing. It does bring up some ethical questions to chew on afterwards, which is nice. It's kind of like a CIA version of Zodiac, except not as good, and it has an actual climax (not a bad thing).
Another film watched for my Arab Representation class.
Wow this film is gross. I don't understand why I liked it so much when it came out. The acting isn't as good as I remember it being, it's laborious in length, and it has a torture fetish that's really both factually inaccurate and ethically reprehensible.
Once again, here's the excerpt from my essay:
Zero Dark Thirty was also directed by Kathryn Bigelow, released in 2012 and starred Jessica Chastain. Its box office gross was over $132 million, significantly more than Bigelow’s Hurt Locker. It was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Sound Editing. While viewing this film, representation of Arabs must be carefully considered as it would be…
It wears down the characters and the narrative. Chastain's character grows more and more amoral (smartly not emphasised) reflecting the country itself. Some points it felt far too artificially close (Marriott bombing, Camp Chapman bombing), but for the most part it achieves the intended distanciation through dry treatment of the subject matter.
Last sequence was good, but overlong. It definitely could've sacrificed authenticity for pacing.
I won't bother to wade into the still raw torture controversy, or the ethical problems that arise from massaging and conflating real life events and people (including one of the chief models for Maya, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, who is by all accounts a loathsome human being) into what is obviously a chilly amorality play about the pathetic, hollow victory that capped this decade long, single-minded quest for revenge; this is--regardless of the dubious authenticity--brilliant, powerful filmmaking without pandering, or scenes of obvious moral speechifying to assuage our impotent liberal guilt.
I'm instead continually intrigued by the film's seemingly-removed poise; the very quality that continues to polarize viewers into ideological factions that see it as either a sinister piece of America-Fuck-Yeah,…
is there anything better than the masterful art form that is the Slow Burn Film™?? ????
well I'm here to tell you that the answer is yes, yes there is, and it is the living breathing work of art, Miss Jessica Chastain herself, thank you for your time
movies directed by women,
regularly updated with new releases
Here's the other list I published at the same time:
100 Highest Rated Entries on Letterboxd Directed by Women.