Zero Dark Thirty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 11, 2013
“Zero Dark Thirty” is the true story of how Maya (Jessica Chastain) and an elite team of intelligence devote themselves for 10 years after September 11th to one goal: to find and capture or eliminate Osama bin Laden.
Jessica Chastain as Maya is phenomenal. She is the one who really wants to find Osama bin Laden. And gives a realistic and riveting performance. Even when she isn't in the scene, her presence is felt. Maya is smart, persistent, and her best quality is she follows her gut. Even when others may have forgotten about the bin Laden case or don't try anymore, she still believes they can get him. Even if Maya may be fictional, who knows, she is one of the best heroes I have seen in quite some time. Her Oscar nomination was no surprise.
The other actors are also great. Everyone does a brilliant job. Dan Clarke's character, for example, is just as charming as he is dangerous. The only problem is that except for Maya, the other characters show little ­development. Many come and go, and you really don't care about them.
“Zero Dark Thirty” is based on actual events and is created in a straightforward, factual manner in which this group is trying to find for bin Laden. Academy-Award winner director Katherine Bigelow does a brilliant job making the audience believe that everything may be factual. I love the fact that they went the non-Hollywood approach. It may not be all factual, but Bigelow makes you believe it is.
The setup is great. The first two hours shows them trying to find bin Laden. It is mostly conversation with them looking through papers and following leads. Often in a film, this can get boring. But “Zero Dark Thirty” is a gripping, suspenseful and brilliantly crafted. I was never bored during a single scene.
However, the last 40 minutes is the best part. Everyone knows what it will be: the soldiers invading bin Laden's hiding place to try to capture him. These minutes are nail-biting, suspenseful and gritty and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. You feel like you are there with the Navy Seals. This well-executed and a heart-pounding finale will be remembered for quite some time.
Some of the controversy around this film is how the terrorists are treated. The torture scenes may be hard to watch. Others scenes may drag a bit, but not enough to bore the viewer. Some may say that this film is propaganda and a ploy to make America look great, but I don't agree.
Gripping, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, and featuring Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty” make the hunt for Osama bin Laden into one of the best movies of 2012. It is awesome-tacular.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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