Zero Dark Thirty

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 3.0

Bigelow's follow-up to The Hurt Locker documents the chase after al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden following the events of 9/11, starting with the crude, immoral interrogation tactics (including waterboarding) employed by the Central Intelligence Agency to smarter, more 'civil' (cough, cough) means of getting information, all of which is spearheaded by a dogged, ruthless agent named "Maya" (Jessica Chastain). As vulgar and off-putting as the torture scenes are - and they make up a decent portion of the first part of the movie - not showing them would be just as wrong: Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, committed to the current (!) version of the truth, do a decent job at condensing the decade-long efforts of "Maya" (and the rest of the C.I.A., not to mention countless other organizations) in locating the whereabouts of Bin Laden (the sequencing as admittedly patchwork but necessary), culminating in a meticulously shot (if, well, a smidge too dark) reconstruction of the raid on his compound in Pakistan by DEVGRU. Anyone accusing it of being Rah-Rah-Americanism need to relax: artistic liberties are taken, of course - the movie, in essence, credits one woman with tracking down Bin Laden - and it's hardly an even-handed depiction of the struggle between the U.S. and "the other" (the opposing side has been silenced; they're monsters and need to be wiped out instead of understood), but I accept, with good grace, that Bigelow has only the best intentions in detailing the intense man-hunt, and not glorifying the execution of a human being. Let's face it, that kook needed to go.