Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

IMDB plot:

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

Incoming vengeful spoilers.

How does one justify torture? In real life, it’s pretty hard. In movies, you make it look like the other guy is a really bad guy, so you don’t feel guilty when he’s treated like a piece of shit, a dog, or anything else, except a human.

And hey, guess how this movie starts? With the calls from 9/11! But why, oh why? Because, just after that, you have an American agent torturing a Pakistan guy! After all, it doesn’t make the American agent seem like a brutal, dehumanizing, torturer if you make it look like “Oh, but it was that guy who flown both planes in killed all those people! You heard their voices!”

But the story is not all about this. It follows Maya (Jessica Chastain), who was the intelligence counterpart inside CIA to locate Osama Bin Laden. And her first assignment after landing in Pakistan is follow the “interrogation” above, done by Dan (Jason Clarke). And the story goes around the fact that Maya got obsessed about a guy named “Abu Ahmed”, which she believes is the personal messenger for Osama Bin Laden. And, in the end, they find Bin Laden.

I don’t know if the story follows a real person (apparently not), but it fits a bunch of real facts (so it is kinda like Assassin’s Creed). But the story improves after it drops the pretense of American actions being “righteous” and shows how much the war changed some characters. Dan, for example, seems to feel completely dehumanized, incapable of feeling anything for any other human being after all the time torturing people; Maya seems to get one-track-minded about Ahmed and how he would lead them to capture Bin Laden — and then everything is thrown in the rubbish bin by making her identify Bin Laden in last than 10 seconds after he’s dead. It actually makes you think “Did they really kill him or it was just because she/they got so obsessed that killing anyone that looks like him made them believe it was him?” Maybe that was the point of the story anyway, but still…

Acting is pretty damn nice. When Clarke needs to be shown as completely dehumanized, he seems dehumanized. Chastain goes into the growing obsession through the movie and you can clearly see it.

In the end, I could give it some good points, but the fact that the start rubs everything in the completely wrong way, I can only give it 3 our of 9/11s.