‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is drier than my night with your mother

by Ben


Zero Dark Thirty makes Munich look like a high-octane action flick. In fact, I’d say it might just be the most one-dimensional, one-track picture I’ve ever had the displeasure to watch. I honestly can’t believe I sat through all 150+ minutes (please allow the length to wash over you for a moment) of Kathryn Bigelow’s ego exposition. It might just be the most important solo feat I’ve ever accomplished, besides that mammoth hour-long masturbation session I just completed in order to get my heart restarted.

My primary complaint is that the role of Maya, our heroine CIA protagonist, is so defaced it might as well have been replaced by a narrator (Morgan Freeman, for example) and nothing of any value would have been lost. Jessica Chastain is a powerhouse contemporary actress who no doubt will have a hundred awards shoved at her; unfortunately, this role could have been done by Megan Fox and had about as much impact. Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal took absolutely no liberty in a little exposition. There’s no backstory, no characterization, no personality for Maya. She simply floats along, being right all the time. No one and nothing challenge her. There’s no antagonist of any sort, and without a little flaunting of Chastain’s prowess all we’re left with is a bone-dry pictograph about torture, a smorgasbord of names who sound vaguely Arabic, and a lame conclusion which really doesn’t satisfy anything.

I can sort of comprehend why they left Maya so bland; she is a stand-in for whole gobs of intelligence personnel who actually made the killing of Osama bin Laden possible. Without extending the length of the film another five hours, I’m certain there’s no method in which to characterize all the different individuals who played a part in the manhunt. Still, by leaving her so flat and unencumbered, there’s no reason to feel attached to her. I constantly felt as though a little drama would actually have improved the flow of the picture. And I said what I meant before about Maya always being right; there isn’t a single scene where she’s told she’s wrong, or incorrect about anything. She just keeps on going until about 100 minutes in when she finds OBL’s nifty compound.

Finally, after 125 minutes of bland and generic police procedural-type goings-ons, Zero Dark Thirty kicks it up to the actual military operation, full of silenced machine guns and stealth helicopters. Unfortunately, it all takes place at night, and only about four or five people get shot over the 30 minutes it takes to play out. It’s so anticlimactic I almost went into cardiac arrest while watching. I mean honestly, if it had been a tense or suspenseful action scene to wrap everything up (a la Miami Vice), I might have come away with a very different opinion. But like Chastain’s tears in the final shot, I found the conclusion dull and uninspired.

Zero Dark Thirty is boring, overlong, and doesn’t feature a protagonist who is interesting in any way. It’s unbelievably dry -so much so, not even an XL-sized bottle of lube would help. Unless you like being not entertained, steer clear of this dud.

Conclusion: Just watch triple anal instead. 1.0/5.0