Wednesday, January 16, 2013
And yet, director Kathryn Bigelow – working from a taut screenplay by Mark Boal – pulls it off spectacularly. It's absurd that she wasn't nominated for Best Director.
What’s also remarkable about the directing is that there are stretches of this 2 1/2 hour film where nothing much happens and still you’re riveted to the screen. Compare that to BATTLESHIP where you’re bored out of your mind during action scenes.
The final sequence, when the Navy Seals break into the compound and complete their manhunt is thrilling and gut wrenching. The way it’s shot you really feel like you’re there with them. At one point I tried to adjust my night goggles. And the fact that it’s a true story – we really did kill bin Laden; it wasn’t just another Quentin Tarantino what-if fantasy, made it all the more poignant. Again, how could Ms. Bigelow not get a Best Director nomination?
There has been a lot of controversy over ZERO DARK THIRTY, primarily over the interrogation scenes. Maybe that's why Kathryn got snubbed. Hollywood doesn't believe in torture unless they can dish it out.
The glimpses of torture in ZDT are pretty disturbing, but it’s not like you’re watching HOSTEL. The government of course denies that these methods of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other indignities ever happened. Right. These terrorists divulged all this information when playing Cranium. “Okay, you landed on a yellow. Current Events. Answer this question: Osama bin Laden’s chief courier was…? Yeah, that’s how we broke the prisoners.
But the scenes will spark debate over the necessity and morality of using torture. I leave it to others to engage in that debate... probably in the comments section.
ZERO DARK THIRTY deals with bureaucracy, persistence, and dedication. It’s kind of like ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN except Deep Throat has to be chained and thrown into a box before he talks. It’s been playing in Los Angeles and New York and opened nationwide on Friday. Well worth seeing. Like I said -- I think it was the movie of the year (although I reserve the right to change my mind once I’ve seen THE THREE STOOGES).
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM