This weekend Daddy and I went to see Zero Dark Thirty. We both wanted to see it and didn't know anyone else who did, so when I was home for the weekend, we made sure to make time to see it. I knew loosely what the movie was about, but I didn't really know much about it (P.S. possible spoilers ahead).
That is about all I could say as a first reaction. The movie was extremely intense in several different ways. The opening of the movie is a black screen with, what felt like several minutes, but was probably more like one minutes of audio of 911 calls from 9/11. It was very intense, especially as a dispatcher tries to calm down someone trapped in one of the towers, until she can no longer hear the victim's voice. It was heart-wrenching.
Then the movie begins. The first 20 minutes or so focus on Maya and her colleagues torturing a man into giving up information on various suspected terrorists. I came in knowing that there was controversey surrounding the torture depicted in the movie, but I was not expecting what I saw. I'm not really sure I could ever have been prepared for it. It was awful and terrible and a million other adjectives that I can't even describe. I remember thinking to myself, "If this lasts for the whole movie, I am going to leave. I physically will not be able to stay and watch this." There were several minutes where I couldn't take a bite of popcorn, not because I was riveted or tense, but because I felt nauseated and wasn't sure I could stomach eating any.
Thankfully, that portion of the movie ended and gave way to the much less intense search for bin Laden. There were some points where I wasn't exactly sure that I was following what was happening (some of the characters seemed like they were never introduced, who is that guy? her boss? the CIA director?) mostly due to be not being in the CIA (that you know ov...) There were several explosions during this portion of the movie that had both Daddy and I jumping out of our seats.
Then came the big mission. I had convinced myself that since "I knew how it ended" I wouldn't be worried or tense. False. It was very riveting and intense. I spent the latter part of the movie tensed with my arms crossed. There was so much I didn't know (or maybe remember...), the helicopter crashing, how they had to raid all of the documents they could at once, the explosions, the lack of guards or soldiers at the compound, a random unlocked door to one of the buildings at the compound.
When I texted Momma that we were leaving, she asked if it was good. I'm still not quite sure how I would answer that question. I think I would have to say it was phenomenally well done. Jessica Chastain was wonderful, as were the other actors. It was intense and engaging, but I'm not sure I liked it. I'm not sure it's a movie you like or would say it is good. It was certainly well done, but maybe not good...
As disturbing as the torture scenes were (and they were one of, if not the most disturbing thing I've ever witnessed), the most disturbing thing for me was the fact that there were two, at the very oldest, ten-year-old boys there. The movie is rated R and that rating should be taken seriously. I have no idea what their parents were thinking. It is a movie that is completely inappropriate for anyone that age. I don't care how mature or worldly your child may be. There is no reason for them to have to see people being almost drowned or shoved in a very small box. They are images that I'm not sure that I will be able to forget and I am a (fairly) rational, educated, twentysomething. I can't imagine seeing those images and being a child. I saw the first child walking in with his mom on my way to the bathroom and I'm sure that my face was full of judgment, which I do not apologize for. That child had no business being there and the grown-ups charged with protecting him had no business allowing him to witness that movie. No excuse. *gets off soapbox*
I guess I'm glad that I saw it. It is nominated for several Oscars and it was definitely impactful, but not for the faint of heart.
P.S. I read a tweet from someone about a commercial they saw for Zero Dark Thirty during an NFL game that said that during the whole commercial there was not a single shot of Jessica Chastain, even though she is in almost every single scene of the movie. Apparently they didn't think that the presumed male audience of the football game would want to see a movie starring a woman, even if said movie is based on a real woman, with plenty of action, explosions and swearing. Sometimes I just can't believe the society we live in. *gets off soapbox again*