I was on the fence about whether I should take G to see this movie or not. I didn't realize that it was rated "R" when I saw all the trailers about it. Didn't really pay attention until I went to look up the showtimes and saw the rating right below the title. But then I thought that I recalled my first "R" rated movie was when I was 10 so he would certainly be okay at 12. So it was a guys' night out as me and my two sons checked it out.
"Zero Dark Thirty" is based on the true story of the raid that killed Bin Laden. It goes behind the scenes starting with the events after 9/11 that slowly led up to the mission that would eventually take out the Most Wanted man in America. The movie details why it was so painstaking to track down the most popular fugitive ever. So just ignore the fact that it's nearly three hours long. They had over a decade of history to cover in that time period.
This is now the second movie I've seen where they've addressed the actual events of 9/11 would nothing more than audio while the screen was completely dark. I think the first one I noticed that did that was Michael Moore's flick "Farenheit 9/11". I wasn't a fan of that concept even then. Was it done because the images were too gruesome to show again? Or for some type of dramatic effect? In this particular instance it worked. Namely because some of the audio they played here was audio I had never heard before. It was rather chilling and set the mood perfectly as the opening scene.
Let me say now that as far as the whole torturing thing goes, I don't have any problem with that at all. If we have 'detainees' that can provide information to capture criminals that are responsible for killing American citizens then do whatever it takes to get that information. I could care less if it impedes on their rights. It was interesting to see here some of the tactics that were used to get that information. I would have still liked to see more of the different techniques used. But I guess we can't show all of our cards.
The pace of the movie didn't drag on like some dramas that length (157 minutes to be exact). There were never any dry moments. Every scene was purposeful as it connected to the next doing an even better job of building up to the finale you know is coming. And the finale itself was still something that seemed too incredulous to believe. It was a mission that you would have sworn was a Hollywood production had it not really happened. To think that our Navy SEALs pulled off a mission like that under those circumstances without a single casualty is a huge testament to how extraordinary our armed forces are.
As for the "R" rating, I honestly have to say I've seen MUCH worse R-rated films. There was one scene where they showed a man's bare behind but besides that there was no nudity. There really wasn't that much cursing. There was easily more violence in "The Avengers" than they had here. Although there was clearly more blood in this one. But still, this could have easily gotten a PG-13 rating.
There wasn't a single actor who didn't do an amazing job in "Zero Dark Thirty". You
would expect that from a film with a high-powered cast; however, there
wasn't a single big name star in this one. The only actor who I
remotely recognized was Chris Pratt from "Parks and Recreation" who only
had a small part as one of Navy SEAL Team Six. And even seeing him in a
role completely contrary to his clueless character from that sitcom was
further proof of how great the acting was. Director Kathryn Bigelow
once again did an outstanding job of taking a very machissmo subject and
bringing an emotional factor to it that everyone can appreciate.
My rating: A