Zero Dark Thirty (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)

Posted: August 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Zero Dark Thirty” is amoral, lazy garbage. if the film is going to argue that torture did or did not lead to the death of Bin Laden, fine. If the movie is going to argue that torture is good, or bad, or only good or bad in this one particular instance, fine. If the movie is going to be pragmatic, or nihilistic, or matter-of-fact and neutral, devoid of any message, fine. BUT YOU HAVE TO FUCKING PICK SOMETHING.

This movie is lazy. It is a movie that PRETENDS to have a message, and expects the audience to do the heavy lifting and figure it out. And audience members will imbue the film with whatever message they find in it, like a Rorschach test. The movie has no message.  It’s not a matter-of-fact movie like Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant”, or a matter-of-fact, in-the-moment film without the benefit of hindsight like “United 93”. It is a film with no attitude, yet pretends to have one. Oddly enough, the writer and director’s last film, “The Hurt Locker” was a movie which pretended to have no message, but DID have one. ZD30 doesn’t even have good murky morality, like “Breaking Bad”. It’s just a film that can’t decide on an attitude, but will pretend it has one, and it’s one the film forces you to search.

None of the characters have any development. All of the characters except the main one are portrayed as either negative or neutral, and the main character is portrayed as positive, but I don’t feel she deserved to be. She was right, but only because she had a hunch and wouldn’t let it go and she was fucking lucky. Another character also has a hunch and is wrong, and she’s killed. But the movie isn’t arguing the end justifies the means either. By the time the film reaches its anti-climactic climax, and we’re left with the lazy, ambiguous tears of the protagonist, I was left feeling dirty and angry. Either have the balls to say something, or say nothing. But don’t say nothing and pretend you are saying something, and then let the audience jump through mental hoops to excuse your laziness. The film earns a D because it doesn’t even have the balls to be a morally reprehensible F. And I can’t give it a D- because the film is competently made and not boring. But fuck this movie.

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