Film Review Over black, we hear the real-life sounds signalling New York’s worst day. An instantly essential thriller, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ begins with a CIA interrogation in progress, then focuses more intently on the pallid young woman watching. Maya (Jessica Chastain) will become our surrogate. An agent drafted out of high school (based on an actual person), she knows the hunt for ‘Osama bin Laden’ and nothing else.
She’ll be coarsened by illegal tactics that may produce vital intel (an honest movie needs to go there. This one does, boldly), she’ll see her colleagues tire and fail and, a decade later, will still be running down the globe’s most wanted terrorist. As major as Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘The Hurt Locker’ felt, it’s hard to appreciate the leap she takes here, launching her actors into scorched, obsessed territory. The movie splays out like a dense procedural: a white SUV here, a Dubai playboy there.
It all ends, of course, with a silent raid in the Pakistan night. You know the outcome, but are you ready for the banal bloodstain, the suddenness, the disquieting feeling of an itch that can’t be scratched?
From Time Out New York