Zero Dark Thirty Review

It has now been more than six years since Navy SEAL Team 6 pulled off an amazing mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.

And to this day I have not seen or read anything that captures that mission – and the incredible amount of fact-finding work that went into setting up the operation – better than the movie Zero Dark Thirty by the Oscar-winning team of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal.

It’s a lengthy movie – just over 2½ hours – but the action and suspense make the time fly by quickly.

The acting in this pulsating thriller is superb. Viewers will find no problem becoming immersed in the lives of the CIA agents whose goal is to capture the man most responsible for the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001.

Let me address two issues with this film very quickly – violence and language. It’s rated R for strong violence including disturbing images and for language. Yes, it’s violent, and the interrogation scenes are intense. But I was actually surprised that it was not more violent. I’ve seen episodes of 24 on network television that were more violent.

As far as the language is concerned, all I can tell you is that if the F-word bothers you in movies, this film is probably not for you because it’s used many times.

The film starts with audio only of 911 calls made by people inside the World Trade Center towers after terrorists flew planes into them. That sets the tone for the first two hours of the movie, which show the progress of the incredibly daunting task to find bin Laden.

The final 30 minutes display the courageous SEALs in action as they risk their lives for their country and perform a nearly flawless mission.

But the real hero of this film is America, which is portrayed by CIA operative Maya. Played by Jessica Chastain, she’s the one who refuses to give up when one roadblock after another derails the chase.

She’s the one who is 100 percent convinced that Osama bin Laden is in the compound discovered after a courier is followed there. She’s the one whose single-minded pursuit of evil is an inspiration to people who still believe that justice must be served.

This film is not particularly political and it doesn’t tell the viewer how to think about how the trail to bin Laden was painstakingly carved out and followed. And that’s good. But I’m not a film director, so I will tell you what I think.

Despite the fact that former President Obama took credit for the kill, a vast majority of the investigative work behind the operation came while George W. Bush was president.

In fact, while the hunt for bin Laden was going on, Obama said to television cameras that America does not torture and America will not torture.

That’s a wonderful statement and I’m sure it made members of the Left smile until their faces cracked. But here’s the truth – bin Laden would not have been discovered and killed if America did not torture. Like it or not, that’s the way it is.

As the film and many other sources have clearly revealed, the path to bin Laden was carved out with the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by CIA operatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sorry, but bad guys don’t give up crucial information by being placed in air-conditioned hotels with pools and free food and drinks, followed by a friendly chat by the fireplace.

Hopefully, there will never be another Osama bin Laden in America’s future. But if there is, I’m confident that American Special Forces will rise to the task and deal with him.


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