Jessica Chastain portrays the C.I.A. intel officer who leads the charge to find Osama Bin Laden’s courier, who will lead her (and the might of the U.S. armed services) to Bin Laden.
All the buzz Zero Dark Thirty has been getting is spot on. The movie cut down 10 years of the manhunt for the most hated man in America into a modest 160 minutes, and I wouldn’t wish for a single frame to be changed. The C.I.A. is portrayed as a bureaucratic quagmire at times. I imagine that is not far from the truth. Even if you are the most hardcore news junkie, you will still be startled by certain explosive scenes.
Chastain’s character, Maya, is committed to the mission with an abundance of confidence and a pinch of obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is headstrong, and will not back down to get the most dangerous man on the planet. Maya wears multiple hats, including researcher and private eye. She is a major firecracker and stands out in Islamabad or Washington, D.C.
Although I liked Chastain’s performance, I got a real kick out of Jason Clarke (Dan). He shows Maya the ropes in the early days of the detainee program, torturing captured terrorists while Maya sheepishly stands in the corner. Dan was her biggest believer besides herself. In one scene Dan is standing at a cage housing several monkeys. One monkey takes his ice cream cone, causing Dan to grin. A soldier laughs at this, saying “you agency guys.” In the background are captured fighters in orange jumpsuits. I don’t know why that particular scene stands out to me. Perhaps it is because moments before and after, Dan is interrogating a detainee; or it was Dan simply trying to retain his humanity in the midst of a war of ideals…
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