Zero Dark Thirty

About halfway through the filming of her military thriller about the CIA's hunt for terrorists, Academy Award winning Director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") was stunned to learn that Osama bin Laden had been located and killed. She immediately suspended her project and Mark Boal ("The Hurt Locker") began rewriting the script.

Amid accusations that she (possibly) was given access to secret material, she shot and released this astonishing piece of R-rated film-making with blinding speed. Of course we already know how it ends, but it's a nail- biter just the same. And it IS based on real people; they even remem- bered to include the Malinois dog (a slightly smaller version of a German Shepherd).

We see:
  • Jessica Chastain ("The Help") is the driven CIA agent who refuses to cut herself or anyone else any slack. She got this job right out of high school and it's the only life she knows. (You should hear how she describes herself!)
  • Mark Strong ("The Guard") practically steals this film from the top-billed stars. This British-born actor never ceases to amaze me: this time he's CIA (American!) and grabs our focus any time he's on camera.
  • Jason Clarke ("Lawless") is the CIA fellow tasked with the inter- rogation of prisoners. This Australian bloke will always work because he speaks American like a native.
  • Joel Edgerton ("Kinky Boots") is part of the Navy SEAL team and he believes in our heroine's "gut." Edgerton is another Aussie.
  • Chris Pratt ("Money Ball") brings his trademark genial likability to his role as part of the SEAL team. So much of their raid has them swathed in night-vision goggles and all the paraphernalia they need that they are virtually unrecognizable, but I knew his voice.
  • Reda Kateb ("Three Worlds") is the operative who is subjected to water-boarding. The scene wasn't as horrific as I had feared, although I certainly wouldn't want it done to ME!
  • Kyle Chandler ("Super 8") is our heroine's boss in Afghanistan. To him, she is a major pain because she doesn't know how to quit.
  • Jennifer Ehle ("Contagion") is her only friend in the CIA. As a rule, Ms. Ehle speaks flawless American but one scene shocked me because there was NO attempt to disguise her British pronuncia- tion. Hmmm.... I guess this was made in a rush...
It's amazing how iconic a simple, three-story white building in Abbotta- bad, Pakistan has become. We all recognize it instantly! And the claustro- phobic scenes inside are grim. Expect bits of humor, no sweaty bodies, plenty of gunfire and (remember we are dealing with suicide bombers!) lots of blowie uppie stuff.
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Take a peek at a preview:
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