Review Roundup - None more dark

ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)

Due to the nature of it's recent history storyline, coupled with the portrayal of interrogation tactics at US Black Sites this is a difficult movie to digest as you'd expect. Jessica Chastain stars as "Maya" - the jawline that killed Bin Laden, and it's a fairly engrossing look into the grey and murky world of covert CIA operations. They sum it all up in one line which goes something like "find me some people to kill". That attitude runs through the whole thing and over the course of a decade her drive simply gets more icy in the face of dead ends, bomb blasts and machine gun fire - alongside department bureaucracy and doubting superiors. The level of realism on show here, and how much fact backs up the writing I can't say - but it is all done in a very engaging way that hooks in early after a slow start and doesn't let up.



The core cast around the lead heroine is all pretty solid, but her ever building determination holds it all together, with the mission becoming all she is ever shown thinking about (after 12 years it's not surprising). Part detective plot part spy thriller, the bulk of the narrative is at it's most basic just information gathering, but it never drags - and for want of a better cliché this is pretty edge of the seat stuff on many occasions as targets are followed and leads are chased. It keeps ramping up all the way to the climax, a tense night-vision showdown akin to Silence of the Lambs via Rainbow Six.

The morality of what's going on during the torture scenes and how the final assault goes down is never questioned. Perhaps the viewer is being left to judge, or perhaps they are simply for or against what takes place depending on how you look at the mission outcome - they get the job done but nobody is ever questioned about the methods or brought to task for being involved in the work they've done. American operatives switch roles to regain their links with "normality" while their prisoners are are simply "not getting out" and never talked about once the facilities are closed down - make of it what you will. It's cold and detached but this is possibly the point, if they were trying to make one. In the final moments there are no celebrations and no questions raised. The story is simply brought to a close, but it is a gripping and well made tale. 

4/5

BONUS REVIEW

LINCOLN (2012)




If you like people shouting "How dare you sir!" and having lots of historic debate scenes this is the good stuff. The accuracy is something I have no knowledge about besides the basics of the subject but the cast is very compelling. Daniel Day Lewis is impressive of course but I liked Tommy Lee Jones here a lot too. Nearly ever other scene is an anecdote or a speech of some kind but they are all well done even when some of the cursing could quite possibly be out of place in this time period. It does go a bit off course in the final moments trying to do something different with an outcome everyone knows is coming, but overall it's still a drama worth seeing.

4/5