Saturday, 16 February 2013

240, Zero Dark Thirty

It was only a matter of time before the Bin Laden story made it onto the cinema screen.  Zero Dark Thirty charts the traumatic events seen throughout the world.  The movie opens with a black screen and audio messages of emergency calls made during the 9/11 attacks and culminates over a decade later with the movies finale of the safe house take down, most of which mirrored exactly how the story was played out to us by news networks throughout the globe.

Where the 'movie element' of this comes in is the how's, why's and wherefores that went into confirming Bin Laden's location and ultimately, his take down. 

This story starts in the interrogation rooms of Guantanamo Bay where CIA operatives question and interrogate terror suspects linked with 9/11 and because of this - form a picture and awareness of a collection of couriers, moving messages between cells that results in one operative, Maya (Jessica Chastain) believing, almost without question that she has identified the link between Bin Laden and the outside world.

The opening scenes of this are not for the faint hearted - you witness a good 45 minutes of torture and interrogation including Water boarding that really brings you into to the environment that this intelligence was gained.  Once the oversight committee stop the interrogation procedures occurring it all hands to the U.S Embassy and it becomes very much a CIA thriller, easily compared to a Jack Ryan movie before the confirmation of Bin Laden's whereabouts is all but assured and a collection of current American TV and Movie actors suit up to storm the castle in a thrilling sequence of events that results in the take down of the worlds most wanted terrorist.

Staying politically correct, Its hard for me to fault a movie that is so poignant with most of the western world in today's climate.  9/11 and the London bombings affected almost everyone on one scale or another, either personally or indeed opening you're eyes to the fact that it didn't matter where you were from or who you were - you were a potential target.  However if I have to be ever so critical, it was a bit long winded.

I didn't see the need for so much time in the interrogation camps and then the countdown of days from when Maya discovered the compound to when the Secretary of Defence? gave the go ahead to attack was also too drawn out. 

The final assault though was well worth the 30-45 minutes of air time and the renegade group of Marines with their stealth choppers managed to instill some welcomed american spirit into proceedings making for a real time action movie, some shot in a Call of Duty / 1st person shooter style that just was edge of the seat viewing. 

This movie was so true to the news articles of the time that you knew what was happening, even before it happened however I was unaware that they crashed one of the helo's into the compound and although they were relatively quiet (as far as helicopters are concerned) in all honesty, they still made one hell of a racket - enough to draw out the sleepy community in which the compound was located but surprisingly - the locals onyl decided to peek through the curtains towards the end of the insertion. 

Other than that - this is a great movie - It really does let you see a little of how it might have been in the lead up to Bin Laden's take down and I for one was intrigued to see the outcome - even though I knew the result.

To finish - if like me you are having trouble understanding the title of this movie (Zero Dark Thirty), allow me to elaborate.  

"It is a humorous term used by the military based on the 24-hour clock. The hours before 10am start with a 0, so 1:00 am is 0100 and said as zero-one-hundred and so forth. Thus zero-dark hundred is any time after midnight while it is still dark.  In the Navy and Marine Corps, there was a lot of emphasis on pronouncing 0500 as "zero five hundred" instead of "oh five hundred," etc., and, as a result, some military units said "zero dark thirty" instead of "oh dark thirty." So the movie is very accurate in this regard".

(By the way - I didn't write that bit.  Someone on Google did so if that's you - Thanks for your input).