Before any 2012 movie got released, this always sounded like the most likely one to become my favorite of the year and the one main Oscar contender for 2012. Well, seems like my predictions and hopes for this movie were a bit too early and wrong, since "Zero Dark Thirty" is by no means a great film, even though it still behaves like one.

Of course it's far from a terrible one as well but it still remains a movie that does plenty of things in a just too remote and not involving enough way.

The entire movie is just a telling of events, almost in the same way as a documentary. This means there is no room whatsoever for any personally drama and other plot lines to develop. It focuses on its main subject and its main subject alone, making this very dry movie to watch, also mostly because its set at offices and involves lots of talking. Nothing wrong necessarily with this type of approach and some directors might indeed get away with this but it seems that Kathryn Bigelow was overplaying her hand a bit with this movie.

It's of course OK for a movie to not really feature any action or other excitement but a movie at least needs to give you something thats both interesting and involving enough to follow, especially when the movie is nearly 3 hours long. This movie definitely has too little of that, due to its more observing type of approach.

There is also still no good excuse as to why the actual raid toward the end of the movie is a thing that also works out as something that's far from exciting and engaging. It's supposed to put you on the edge of your seat and should make you hold your breath, even though you of course already know how it's all going to end. But it almost treats its like an afterthought and perhaps it's something more subtle and less exciting to be more in tone with the rest of the movie? I don't know but it all felt like a missed opportunity to me.

If this movie teaches us one thing, it's that the hunt for Osama bin Laden was a very long, frustrating and not always that exciting process. It might be a very accurate movie but I somehow doubt that as well. The movie claims it's based on a first-hand account of all of the events but that would only make sense if the real 'Maya', or someone very high up, was involved with this movie, which is all extremely unlikely.

And just to show it also can be done right; "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden" is a made for TV movie about the same subject, only told from a different (more interesting) perspective. It's nearly twice as short and made with a significantly less budget but it's about ten times as exciting, interesting and engaging to watch.

Really, it's not like this movie ever gets a bad one but it's missing something, all throughout, to make the movie truly something interesting or engaging. It tries hard but it still never really pushes through. It's filled mostly with wasted potential really. The movie as it is remains a good enough one and it remains a well enough made movie with some decent acting but it's obviously hardly any Oscar material, though it will probably still get nominated in a few categories, due to its subject and persons involved.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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