Last evening I took in my fourth Best Picture nominee for the upcoming Oscar’s as I took in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’. The follow-up for director Kathryn Bigelow after 2008’s ‘The Hurt Locker’ which garnered Bigelow Oscar’s for Best Movie and Best Director, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is the story of one woman’s obsession with finding the courier for Osama bin Laden.
I have only ever seen one previous movie that Bigelow directed, and that was ‘K-19: The Widowmaker’, not ‘The Hurt Locker’, so I was essentially going in blind for her style of film.
After watching ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, I really would say it was like two films in one. The first two thirds of the film I would classify as an espionage film, and the final third as a war drama.
And with that breakdown, I honestly can tell you that I enjoyed the espionage parts of the movie, as Jessica Chastain’s character learned to ply her trade in the CIA in trying to track down the courier, and any leads that help and using interrogation methods to do so. This part of the movie really held my attention and for this period of it I can see why this movie was nominated for Best Picture and why Bigelow was nominated for Best Director.
That being said, the final third of the movie I found to be rather slow and tedious as it showed the actual mission to capture or kill Bin Laden, and it definitely had trouble holding my interest.
As a result, I am not really sure about this movie. I did enjoy enough of it to warrant a second viewing down the road, but after the first viewing I don’t see how Bigelow warranted a Best Director nomination ahead of some other directors, most notably Ben Affleck.
‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was an ambitious effort but when you take into account that the ending had to be modified after the successful real-life mission that is depicted at the end, and I think that negatively impacted the overall performance of the film.
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