Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the decade long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. It was the natural follow up to The Hurt Locker for Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow and her journalist screenwriter Mike Boal. Their original intention was to make a film about the 2001 Battle of Tora Bora, but all that changed when bin Laden was killed. Zero Dark Thirty was released only a year after 2011 Operation Neptune Spear. The military themed movie was met with understandable critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. It only won Best Sound Editing in a rare tie with Skyfall.
Although Zero Dark Thirty wasn’t without controversy. However factual, I view the film as matter of fact without getting into any moral or political discussions. Although I was 6 years old, I was too young to fully understand 9/11. I remember learning about bin Laden’s death very clearly. Zero Dark Thirty only depicts 9/11 as an audio recording. The true focus is on the almost obsessive manhunt by fictional CIA analyst Maya Harris. Jessica Chastain commands attention throughout. She’s joined by an all-star cast that includes Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini, and Jason Clarke as fellow CIA officers.
The latter participates in uncomfortable torture methods in order to extract information. Most of the time is dedicated to finding any lead connected to bin Laden. Other terror attacks follow before the Abbottabad compound is located. The Navy SEAL compound raid is a highlight of the movie that captures the tense atmosphere in total darkness. SEAL Team 6 consists of Joel Edgerton and majority Marvel actors like Chris Pratt, Mike Colter, Frank Grillo, and Callan Mulvey. Bin Laden’s death brings a sign of relief, but the impact will never truly go away. Zero Dark Thirty does the best with the facts it was given.