Entertainment news: Zero Dark Thirty

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Zero Dark Thirty

Laura Leiva

Modern Tokyo Times

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The military operation and subsequent killing of Osama bin Laden has been shrouded in mystery since the world heard of the news of his death in early May 2011. Zero Dark Thirty recreates the operation from months after the terror attacks on New York City to the day the operation was carried out, and has earned five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress. Jessica Chastain does an exceptional job as Maya, a young CIA officer assigned to Pakistan two years after the 9/11 attacks.

Upon being sent to Pakistan, Maya (Chastain) accompanies another CIA officer, Dan (Jason Clarke) with the interrogation of detainees in the hopes of obtaining information about Saudi terrorists and Osama bin Laden. After months of humiliation and torture tactics, the detainee mentions a man acting as a courier for bin Laden, and after interrogating other detainees, the stories begin to match up and confirm a man being used to deliver messages to and from bin Laden.

Unable to find any direct leads, Maya combs through an extensive amount of research, data and interviews trying to piece together information to track down bin Laden. Throughout the years, Maya escapes from two attacks – an explosion at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan and another personal attack in which her car is sprayed with bullets as she tries to leave her compound. Dan leaves the Pakistan command, goes back to Washington, and warns her the new administration will cause a change in the political temperament and to be careful. Maya’s friend and fellow officer Jessica finds a new lead and hopes to get some answers at a meeting with a person of interest in Camp Chapman, but is killed as a result of a suicide bombing.

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After the death of Jessica, Maya is told of new information that the man she’s been tracking, Abu Ahmed, is actually the same man as Ibrahim Sayeed and that he is not dead like previously thought. Maya calls Dan in Washington and wants the phone number of Sayeed’s mother in order to trace the call and location. After tracking the number for some time, Maya determines it is in fact Abu Ahmed and the CIA tracks him to a guarded compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

After finding the compound, the CIA uses surveillance to watch the building for months after its discovery, but there is no proof Osama bin Laden is actually there. Despite doubts that bin Laden is actually hiding at the house, the operation is set in motion and takes place May 1-2, 2011. Zero Dark Thirty recreates the intense, but short, operation led by Navy SEAL members and the death of bin Laden. After bin Laden is killed, he is brought back to the base where Maya and the other CIA officials wait, and Maya visually identifies the body as bin Laden’s.

Zero Dark Thirty is a heavy film, but provides a visual timeline in the years following the September 11th attacks. Jessica Chastain does a phenomenal job in the role of Maya – and her win at the 70th Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress confirms it. Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow does it again with this historical drama – a highly recommended film!

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