It's Oscar season so I thought I'd sprinkle in some posts over the next few weeks until the ceremony with my thoughts on the Best Picture nominees. First up, is the most recent film I saw Zero Dark Thirty.
The film tells the story of how Osama bin Laden was ultimately found and killed. Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Point Break) brings a gritty realism to the lens and the film often feels like a police procedural. As with The Hurt Locker, long periods of quiet analysis are abruptly interrupted with shocking and very graphic violence. In many ways, it's two films. The first two hours are the intelligence work that went into finding him (laced with various terrorist attacks over the years) and the 40 minutes are the raid on the compound. The last section was my favorite part. The actors playing the SEAL guys were fantastic and the raid itself was positively gripping.
Here's Official Trailer #2
Of the in the films nominated, it's definitely in the top three and I highly recommend seeing it. Like Lincoln, it is an historical piece and one for the first decade of the 21st century that ends with death of one of the planet's deadliest human beings.
The controversy around the film was predictable. First, it was too political and the Right didn't want it released before the election so as to help the president. So, the studio caved and released it in December. Then the Right loved it when they saw all the torture scenes and blew loads in their shorts. That's when the left got pissed and said that it advocated torture. My take on it was it stayed pretty neutral. There were people in the film that supported torture and thought it worked and people that didn't. Ultimately, it was a relaxing meal and being nice that got the initial guy to talk. This jibes with what my grandfather did during World War II when he interrogated Japanese in the Pacific. They got their best information when they gave them food and shelter. There have also been some moaning about intelligence leaks from the Right but the information in the film is all public knowledge.
If you are heading out to see this year's noms, put this one at the top of your list!