Zero Dark Thirty: OK, It's Evil, But Is It Any Good?
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OK, movie fans, you've all heard about Zero Dark Thirty's blasé attitude about torture, blah, blah, all true, but what the f**k? Enough already, with the depressing sh*t -- let's talk about what you GET if you buy your ticket and a box of popcorn.
Well, first of all, you get Osama. The Bin Man! 20,000 watts of the old Bin Laden star power. This guy doesn't even have to show up, and you already got the premise for a pretty crazy and very wild manhunt. Forget the Joker. Forget Doctor Octopus; forget the wacko in Skyfall!! Osama's the mama of all supervillains. Watching the Bin-ster read the Kor'an gave you chills, right? F**kin' A, the dude could read the Manhattan White Pages and make you sh*t your pants. Somebody tell Freddy Kruger to put his finger-slashers in his pockets and slink on outta here -- America's "Mister Nightmare on Canal Street" just became the star of his own picture.
OK, so let the Greatest Manhunt in History begin! How're you going to tell the final chapter of Osama's story?
Well, right off the bat, you buy a few selected 9/11 emergency calls from the poor bastards in the towering infernos to the 9-1-1 dispatchers. You open your picture by playing those tapes -- over what? Over a f**king BLACK screen, that's what, because that way you can hear them better! And when you hear them, whoa! It takes you back. Back, back, maybe 11 years, to THAT DAY. Your guts start squirming around in your stomach and your blood starts pumping. People are screaming for their lives, burning up. This is the real reality show stuff. Then, the phones go dead.
9-1-1 operator says, "Is anybody there?" No answer! Silence.
The horror of that day! How will we ever get over it? Talk about PTSD. OK, f**k it! We're gonna get the monster who did this, and we're gonna blow his ass all the way to the Muslim Kingdom Come!
If we can only find the f**ker.
He is so f**king evil and so f**king cunning, we're gonna have to pull some serious strings to figure out where his hidey-hole is.
So, OK, black screen, over, next off the bat, we see an Arab-looking dude strung up with some serious looking ropes tied around his wrist bones and he's got blood and lumps on his face. Good. Mother-f**king Arab, probably knows where the f**king Arab Potentate, Godfather "Binny" is hiding out! Go, CIA! Kick his f**king ass, make him squeal!
OK, this movie is off to a flying start, and it's only, like, minute three!
So, OK, apoiler alert! Now, some boring shit happens. They torture the guy, he doesn't talk; they torture the guy some more, he doesn't talk. It gets a little repetitious, if you know what I mean, unless you're into that pain-inflicting thing.
BUT, never fear, the picture has another thing going for it: Jessica f**king Chastain. Hottest babe 2012, maybe 2013, too. SO hot, she made the so-called "Professional" so-called "Film Critics" cream their pants. Just HOW hot is Chastain? Hot enough to make these jaded old dudes get wood again. Here's Kenneth Turan, the critic of the Los Angeles Times, no less. He tells you this: The big-deal attack on Bin Laden's compound AND all the hoo-hah about torture are "both overshadowed by the performance of Jessica Chastain … she [her character, Maya] is a force among forces, and Chastain makes her frankly thrilling to behold."
Chastain is not only Kenneth's Playmate of the Year, she's the Playmate of his Career -- "thrilling to behold"!
Another geezer critic who dotes on Chastain is David Denby, in the New Yorker. His horny praises are so moving, I have to quote him in a poetical form (word-for-word, I swear):
"There is someone else
At that interrogation session:
Who wears a black hood
And removes it
To shake out
A glorious curtain
Of reddish-gold hair."
"A glorious curtain"! AND "frankly thrilling to behold"! And these guys are licensed critics.
So far, then, the picture has two predominating advantages -- Jessica and Osama. Beauty and the Beast. (And all those torture scenes, for your sado-masochistic friends.)
Is that enough to keep you sitting and eating your popcorn??? Let's see. After Maya and her teacher Dan torture the Arab guy, they go to the Office, the dark, dusty CIA office in Wherever-abad. Now the picture starts to bog down again. You get a lot of bullsh*t office politics, uptight CIA bureaucrats with no balls, but with the power to f*ck Chastain over. They don't even seem to get that she is the hottest f**king White Woman in all of Kissmybuttistan.
So here you got male-pig office politics dragging down the pace of the chase. Then Chastain starts staring at torture videos. And you know these videos are "real" because they're super-fuzzy. So: Office politics, torture videos, more office politics, more torture videos. Then, a terrorist attack they didn't see coming, and more office politics (with more pressure -- we gotta get those terrorists before they strike again!) and more torture videos. The only thing worth watching is Chastain watching videos.
Finally, they catch a Big Fish, named Faraj. Now it's Chastain's's turn. She gets to torture a guy all by herself, "One-on-one, with Faraj," her boss says. And this is where you, sadly, begin to wonder if this All-American Beauty has any heavy-duty acting chops. (I LOVED her in The Help, but that was cute, funny lightweight stuff.) She has Faraj beaten up; she has Faraj waterboarded; she even has her torture-flunkies pour a thick brown stuff into a funnel they stick down his throat. E-e-e-w!
But Faraj is tough; he doesn't squeal. So she uses more and more "measures" on him (but not on camera, sorry). She tells her mentor, Dan, "Faraj is still withholding, and that's using every measure we have."