Zero Dark Thirty

Osama's suspicions about the Google Street View camera proved well founded.
Osama’s suspicions about the Google Street View team proved well founded.

This is not an action film. At least, not until late in the piece. The story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden is based on painstaking research by writer Mark Boal, and the story covers the ten years of grinding intelligence work (and grinding of Al Qaeda suspects) that preceded the SEAL attack.

It follows CIA officer ‘Maya’ (Jessica Chastain), an obsessive loner, as she picks her way through the web of Al Qaeda war names and family relationships to find someone with an ongoing connection to OBL. She attends the odd waterboarding, survives the occasional suicide bombing.

There’s little flag-waving and the terrorism suspects are real human beings. Chastain manages to make the rather cold Maya an engaging character in an over-large cast, and it all feels authentic right through to the tense final raid. (Look, NRA: see how effective automatic weapons are in home defence.) 8/10

Released January 31, 2013.

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