Sabin wrote:I'm a little surprised it even got nominated for Best Picture. This has a Dragon Tattoo coldness to it that makes me surprised Academy voters even went for it enough to get it past Moonrise Kingdom or The Master.
It seems no more cold than say ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
ZERO DARK THIRTY reminded me quite a bit of ZODIAC (both are my favorite film of their respective years). These films were about the search for notorious killers, and focused on the individual who becomes obsessed with finding this person long after everyone else has moved on. Obviously ZERO DARK THIRTY had a more clear cut resolution than ZODIAC, but I appreciate both films for their quiet nature and thoughtful style of storytelling. Both of them could have been far more sensationalistic and (as a consequence) far more simplistic.
If ZERO DARK THIRTY had been written and directed by any other Hollywood action team, it would have been more of an "America! Fuck yeah!" type of film.
I think Mark Boal's background as a journalist influences him to write films which have the feel of an in-depth article you might read in Rolling Stone, rather than a Tom Clancy novel. Bigelow's more quiet approach to action suits this type of screenplay. I know you think Bigelow uses too many edits, but I thought the final raid on the Bin Laden compound had the slow and tense editing of a thriller rather than the whiplash-inducing cutting you find in most Hollywood action movies. Its use of moody music on the way to the raid and no music during the raid was much better than the cacophony other action directors would have treated us to in order to pump up the audience.
As for what Boal and Bigelow were trying to say with this film, I think they wanted to show how it was not the billion dollar army or the massive wars which finally brought an end to Bin Laden. It was the hard work of the staff at the CIA and other intelligence entities who found him and planned the best way to kill him. The film was letting us know sometimes a scalpel is a better tool for destroying our enemies than a machete. The moral question about whether we should be executing people in this manner is left ambiguous, but the final image of Maya crying in the plane was certainly a better ending than finishing with the back-slapping celebration of the Marines who were clearly proud of what they had just done. That is how any other writer/director in Hollywood would have closed the movie.
Sabin wrote:Jessica Chastain is not good.
I am surprised you hated Chastain. I thought she gave a riveting performance. As an actress she was able to command the screen any time she went up against her male costars; which perfectly mirrored the battle her character had to wage against all the powerful men who had given up on finding Bin Laden. Maya forced them through shear willpower to act on her hard work and trust her instincts. We know from interviews with Boal that Maya is a real individual, not just a composite. Obviously Boal, Bigelow, and Chastain had to shape her into what they thought she was like since her identity is a secret, but it really was one woman up against all these men who thought she was crazy.
I have not jumped on the Chastain = Meryl bandwagon, but I loved her in TAKE SHELTER and I loved her even more in this. She completely sold the line, "I'm the motherfucker who found this place, sir!" The audience I saw it with erupted into cheers at that moment. I would love that to be her Oscar clip, but obviously they could never show it on TV.
Sabin wrote:Zero Dark Thirty does not make you feel proud to be an American at all.
Italiano should consider this a ringing endorsement of the film.
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow