Zero Dark Thirty

Saturday May 18th at 8pm

USA 2012, 157 minutes, 15 certificate
Directed by Katherine Bigelow, Starring Jessica Chastain Chris Pratt Edgar Ramirez

Jessica Chastain as CIA operative Maya in Kathryn Bigelow’s action thriller Zero Dark ThirtyZero Dark Thirty, spans a whole decade, from 9/11 to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, and it centres on a CIA operative called Maya (Jessica Chastain). The title refers to the precise time – 12.30am – when the navy Seals’ stealth helicopters zeroed in on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound. It’s a riveting movie in that now familiar semi-documentary style of contemporary action thrillers that every couple of minutes tells us we’re in the “US embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan”, “CIA headquarters, Langley, Virginia”, “London, England” or “CIA Black Site, Gdansk, Poland”.  In 2003 Maya’s thrown into the interrogation business as a witness to the extraordinary rendition and torture of suspected terrorists. She reluctantly accepts the task as part of the business, as police investigators in contrasted regimes have done for hundreds of years, usually but not always with the open or covert permission of their superiors. What the movie does is maintain a dramatically numbed, non-judgmental view on the torture. There is no disavowal, moral or strategic.

It’s fascinating to observe her at work in this alternative existence of chilling, hi-tech surveillance and then accompanying the Seals to Afghanistan on their brilliantly staged mission where she finally identifies  the corpse in its body bag. But afterwards, she’s alone once more. This is a fascinating film, and Chastain’s wonderful performance has something in it of the tragic sense of life. This  is an excellent  thriller to match The Hurt Locker

Tickets £5 on the door only.