Following the September 2001 attacks, Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatized account of the decade-long, global mission devoted to finding and eliminating al-Qaeda’s terrorist leader Usama Bin Laden. The movie focuses on Maya, a CIA officer instrumental in piecing together the web of intelligence that pinpointed the location of Usama Bin Laden and eventually resulted in his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.S. Team 6 on May 1, 2011. Given the summary of this movie, how does it measure up for being a contender for Best Picture in 2013?
Based on previously established criteria, was I entertained? Sorry to say it but the answer is NO, particularly during the first hour and a half or so. I understand that the purpose of the movie was to highlight a decade of events but took way too long to map out the events leading up to the mission. The movie is 157 minutes in length, about 60 minutes too long. While some may argue that the point of the movie was to dramatize a decade of events, Ron Howard’s movie Apollo 13 kept coming to mind. Like Zero Dark Thirty, Apollo 13 is a movie where the viewer is familiar with the outcome of the story prior to seeing it in the theater. With Apollo 13, I was totally engrossed in the events of the movie as if they were happening for the first time, anxious and hopeful that events would end favorably despite already knowing the ending. Zero Dark Thirty failed to acquire that level of drama. I am sorry to share that I was a little bored (although I tried really hard to get into it) and found myself wondering when will this movie finally get to the point.
Did I think about this movie much after seeing it? No, other than being disappointed it was so long; the dramatic moments seemed to be forced and too much attention was focused on conversations and details that were probably critical to the essence of the real story yet ineffective in terms of generating entertainment value.
Would I see it again and recommend it to others? No, I would not see it again. That is the difference between this movie and Argo. Real events were portrayed in both movies but I would definitely see Argo again while forgoing Zero Dark Thirty. Would I recommend it to others? Sure, go see it and make your own conclusion; after all, it is an Oscar nominated movie and I represent only one opinion. Having said that, I am left with the impression that Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for best picture mainly due to the political nature of its content and perhaps as a residual result of Director Katheryn Bigelow’s previous success with Hurt Locker.