I approached this film with reservations. I’d seen director Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award winning, Hurt Locker that to me portrayed US Army bomb disposal guys as victims of the Iraq war, which allowed the liberal US, a curious jingoism. This is in the same vein. Stealth patriotism. The film begins with harrowing scenes of 9/11 and within 10 minutes we see CIA operative Dan (Jason Clarke) torturing a known Al Qaeda supporter. She seemingly presents an unbiased view of events but having seen the carnage of 9/11 and heard talk of 3000 killed in the skyscraper anything the torturers do is deemed fine. And whether you agree or not is your decision.
What follows is 2 and a half hours of utter boredom as this skinny ginger harridan, Maya, played by the over rated Jessica Chastain- who looks as she about to step on the fashion catwalk and uses phrases like motherfucker when she doesn’t have to- tries to locate Osama Bin Laden. We know they will find him in the end, which robs the film of suspense yet still it is dragged on and on and on. Lots of talk and meetings amongst CIA big wigs . It is as dull as a wet Tuesday in Pontypridd ? Eventually, they get the go a head to attack Bin Laden’s house and bring in after a gang of half-wit special ops guys to do so.
They attack at Zero Dark Thirty, which is military jargon for 12.30 am, with much bravado and technology and special copters and night sight and big guns. Consequently, they kill a few bearded men and their defenseless wives (putting 2 in to make sure) before shooting the unarmed the big man. When their chief reports the assassination on the walky talkie, he says, “For God and Country, Geronimo”. I rest my case. The story was put together from a bunch of interviews with the military and CIA conducted by the screenwriter Marc Boal, a former journalist (who also wrote The Hurt Locker) by (2008) so it’s strictly by the book and a rather dull one at that.