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 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…
Jessica Chastain makes everything better. If she was in American Sniper.. nah I still wouldn't watch it.
Nicely done. just amazing breath taking and stunning.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Zero Dark Thirty follows the CIA’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden spanning across ten years, starting from 9/11 all the way to Bin Laden’s death in his compound in 2011. The film centres on CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain), who single-mindedly gathers information and visits black sites, in order to get her target tackling bureaucratic obstacles and colleagues’ scepticism along the way.
Technically it is not a bad film, if somewhat unmemorable in its cinematography. The most engaging and thrilling scene was a meeting between senior CIA official Jessica (Jennifer Ehle) and a possible informant. Otherwise, Zero Dark Thirty speeds along, hitting each chronological point leading up to the attack on Bin Laden’s compound. The film tries to create a…
This movie was a great exploration of the US's actions in the Middle East in recent years. I did feel it was a tiny bit slow.
I remain frustrated that Bigelow didn't get a Best Director nomination for this and can't really imagine why, as she handled a tonally-complex film impeccably. And the real kicker is this film was originally conceived as a take on the frustrating lack of results in the hunt for Bin Laden and had to be hastily reworked after the news of his death. And, you know, let's not forget how incredible Chastain was in a very difficult role. Despite being a pretty big fan of Jennifer Lawrence's, I'm still unpleasantly shocked by her Best Actress win that year. And like Bullock's loss the year after, I think a lot of it boiled down to the fact that Chastain wasn't playing a "typically feminine" role, and that's just incredibly frustrating.
With a first hour as good as anything this year as Jessica Chastain (a career best) takes the hunt for Bin Laden very personally. The torture scenes makes for uncomfortable viewing but the attack on Camp Campion is a masterclass in slow building tension.
Tense, well-directed and featuring a powerful Jessica Chastain performance to lock it down, the two and a half hour run time of Zero Dark Thirty flies by surprisingly quickly.
This is what American Sniper tried to do and failed.
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Lilya 4-Ever
- Life Is Beautiful
- Dancer in the Dark
My five hundred favorite films (1940-2014)
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- The Broadway Melody
As we near the kickoff to Oscar season, I figured it would be appropriate for the site to have a…