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Zero Dark Thirty ~ A Capsule Movie Review

Zero Dark Thirty poster

Zero Dark Thirty ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp

I wasn’t going to see Zero Dark Thirty because I had the idea that it was political propaganda, but when I actually saw it I found that it’s neither political nor propaganda. If anybody gets credit for killing Osama bin Laden (the most hated man in America since Adolf Hitler), it’s not politicians or political parties (as they would have us believe), but the Central Intelligence Agency.

In Zero Dark Thirty, a young female CIA operative known only by the name of Maya (played by Jessica Chastain) arrives in the Middle East. She witnesses first hand an “enhanced interrogation” of a known terrorist. She doesn’t like what she sees but she knows that such tactics are necessary to procure the intelligence that will lead to the high-level terrorists who want to kill Americans and annihilate Western Civilization. When one of the suspects pleads with her to help him, she tells him he can help himself by telling them the truth. As the main “interrogator” says: “When you lie to me, I hurt you.” These scenes are not easy to watch.

Maya focuses more and more on finding and killing Osama bin Laden. She knows, or believes she knows, how to interpret the intelligence that comes her way that she believes will lead to Osama. (She states that, in her eight years in the agency, she has done nothing other than pursue Osama.) She encounters resistance from her boss in the agency (and others) nearly every step of the way. She seems alone in her zeal to get Osama and in how she thinks it should be done. I gather, although I don’t know for sure, that Maya is a fictional character, a composite, of CIA operatives who, through their persistence and dedication, led to the ultimate goal.

Finally, after a ten-year search, intelligence reports seem to indicate that Osama is staying in a “complex” in Pakistan with a small retinue of wives and children. Maya is alone in her belief that Osama is there; some of her colleagues believe there is a “soft” 60% chance.

The highlight of Zero Dark Thirty is the daring nighttime raid on the complex in Pakistan where Osama may or may not be living in seclusion. (We know, of course, in retrospect, that Osama was there and was killed.) It was an enormous gamble that paid off.

Copyright © 2013 by Allen Kopp  

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