The hunt for Osama bin Laden is something that occupied the US military and intelligence services for the past decade until he was eventually killed in 2011. The process of gathering information leading to the eventual strike on bin Laden's compound is a film that practically demanded production and director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) was called to the helm.
Zero Dark Thirty follows a CIA analyst named Maya (played by Jessica Chastain) and the decade long manhunt she embarked on after the 9/11 attacks. Through pain staking amounts of information, courriers, intel and a relentless desire to kill bin Laden, Maya with the eventual help of S.E.A.L. team 6 launch a raid on a compound they believe to be the location of bin Laden and finally put to rest one of America's most hated and pursued terrorists.
The synopsis is fairly straightforward but the presentation is extremely detail oriented. The actual gathering of information on bin Laden is roughly 3/4 of the film and while it is interesting, casual audiences will be lost in the shuffle. Bigelow's directorial choices, like giving chapter titles, are a bit strange but considering the vast amount of time covered in this film its kind of expected that non-traditional story telling would be used on some level. The actual raid on the compound is well paced and shot but it doesn't make up for the first 2hrs of the film where the pacing is sparatic at best. Overall Zero Dark Thirty is a solid film and Chastain delivers a good performance but there's nothing overtly memorable or strong about the film...C+.