Technically proficient, and emotionally cold, Zero Dark Thirty is a paean to revenge. It’s a brilliantly staged reconstruction of the events, including 9/11, that lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden. Disgracefully it implies that torture helped in tracking the terrorist down, though there is no evidence that it did so. When emotion is let into the movie it’s risible: Jennifer Ehle’s over-eager CIA operative, grinning, manically happy, thinking she’s got a lead when she’s only got her death.
The movie’s one long – very long – shout of (understandable) anger that results in an imprisoned diabetic’s death. So much effort to kill one, undoubtedly evil, man. There’s absolutely no consideration of the blowback that US operations abroad created, and continue to do so, for the west. This crushing simplicity condemns the movie as propaganda.
It’s not an easy film to watch or follow; I’m sure it only topped $90m at the North American box office because people wanted to see Bin Laden die.