Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty is the story of a CIA officer, Maya (Jessica Chastain) who is working in the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, on the mission to locate and eliminate Osama-bin-Laden, the al-Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks that claimed 3000 lives. The title, though it sounds curious, simply refers to the military term for thirty minutes past midnight, the time when the US Navy SEALs raided bin-Laden’s residence.
Completely dedicated to her mission, Maya is not very social and appears to be friendless, except when with Jessica (Jennifer Ehle) and Jack (Harold Perrineau). She is not a coward and one to sit back, as her bold statement to the CIA Director, that she located Laden’s whereabouts, makes you want to clap for her. This is proof that Maya is a woman of steel and ready to fight conventions that hold women back. However, even though Bigelow is known to push aside stereotypes, we see in Maya the anxious and worried woman who is left behind while the men go out to save the day.
In the first half of the movie, the torturing of the detainees fails to grab your attention and you wait for something better to happen. Bigelow tries to show that the torturing didn’t lead to Osama, but proper detective work and technology did. Maybe that is why the first half doesn’t seem to be very appealing.
The movie becomes interesting the moment we see and recognise the house that we saw on TV when Osama’s death was broadcast all over the world. Even though the viewers know the climax of the movie, what happens in the second half tends to get the pulse racing and makes the wait to see bin-Laden’s demise even more excruciating. Truthfully, if the movie receives an Oscar for the Best Film, it must be for the second half of the film.