Zero Dark Thirty: A Review (01.02.13, Cineworld, Bolton)
1st February 2013
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The review this week is of Zero Dark Thirty, a film with numerous accolades already under it's belt, and one which generated Oscar buzz from the beginning. It's on at Cineworld Bolton for the coming weeks, and it is not to be missed.

THE PLOT

Billed as 'The Greatest Manhunt In History', Zero Dark Thirty focuses on the CIA's hunt for the man responsible for one of history's greatest attrocities, 9/11. Osama Bin Laden has seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth, but Maya (Jessica Chastain) has spent her entire career searching for him.

And she isn't prepared to give up.

Bin Laden is well hidden, but he has communication channels that allow him to relay his messages and instructions to the rest of al-Qaeda. By following these channels, Maya hopes to locate Bin Laden and take him down with the help of Area 51 technology and a highly specialised US Navy SEAL team.

But it's not made easy, with torture, murder and terrorism common. And when Maya finds herself on the hitlist, it's a race to find Bin Laden before al-Qaeda finds her.

THE REVIEW

Now, before I start, let's get the obvious out of the way . . . He dies. If this is news to you, and you are now of the opinion that I have ruined the film, well then I feel for you, I really do.

Having said that, don't feel like you already know this story. Because Zero Dark Thirty will show you otherwise. It is a gripping tale that will have doubting everything you ever knew about Bin Laden and the hunt for him.

A lot of the attention for this film has been directed at lead actress Jessica Chastain. She has been nominated for numerous awards, including an Oscar and a BAFTA, having already secured the prestigious Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress. And it is time to believe the hype. Her performance is flawless, magnificent from the very beginning to the very end. Tough, vulnerable, strong, and a force in a World sominated by men, Chastain makes sure she rises above everyone else.

That's not to take away from the rest of the talented cast, a sumptuous mix of relative unknowns with the occasional screen legend thrown in for good measure ("Hello, Mr. Gandolfini"). They combine to make this the shortest 157 minutes of my life, helped by the stunning screenplay and under the direction of Oscar Winner Kathryn Bigelow.

The action strikes at a remarkable pace, but not in the way that some action movies suffer. Everything is relevant, there is no wasted movement, and the momentum carries you, not only to the mouth-watering climax, but also to the edge of your seat.

On reflection, it has been impossible to find anything wrong with Zero Dark Thirty. There may be complaints at the prevelance of torture, but how can you tell such a story without it? There is none added for the sake of it, no Saw-like gore, just a stark, raw representation of reality.

This may not be the greatest endorsement you have ever heard considering that Rom-Com The Proposal is in the list of my top 3 films, but Zero Dark Thirty is definitely up there as one of my favourite films of all time.

It really is must see cinema.

THE ESSENTIALS

Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

Produced By: Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Written By: Mark Boal

Release Date: Friday 25th January 2013

Running Time: 157 Minutes

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, James Gandolfini

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