First Review of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Movie Review: The Girl Who Got Bin Laden
In a “black site” at an “undisclosed location,” a CIA officer is interrogating a man suspected of having information on Osama bin Laden’s courier. The suspect, Ammar (Reda Kateb), believes he can withstand the waterboarding, the dog collar, the sleep and food deprivation, the heavy metal soundtrack that hammers his warehouse cell 24 hours a day; he boldly asserts that “Jihad will go on for a hundred years.” But as his captor, Dan (Jason Clarke), patiently explains, “In the end, bro, everybody breaks. It’s biology.” Ammar turns to Dan’s silent partner, Maya (Jessica Chastain), and cries, “Your friend is an animal. Please help me.” The ordeal continues. That’s diplomacy, by any means necessary.
The 9/11 attacks instantly created a new world disorder, changing the face of the enemy from cranky tyrants to a stateless ascetic with the dream of crippling infidel America. The al-Qaeda coup also rendered the old book of counterintelligence ethics obsolete. Bribes and blackmail were still permitted, but no gentlemen and ladies needed enlist in the war on terror. The stakes were too high — as Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the director and the writer of The Hurt Locker, document in their powerhouse thriller Zero Dark Thirty. “I want targets!” shouts George (Mark Strong), a high-level CIA official, to his agents in the field. “Do your f—in’ job. Bring me people to kill.” By then, Leon Panetta (James Gandolfini) is the CIA Director, and Maya has been working for years to locate Mr. Big — to bring in the head of Osama bin Laden.