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Papa Kenn Reviews: Zero Dark Thirty

Posted by Papa Kenn On February - 1 - 2013 5 Comments

This week, Papa Kenn reviews the film that many critics are lauding as “Perfect” and “one of the best films of 2012″… ZERO DARK THIRTY! Does it really stand up to their praise?


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“Zero Dark Thirty”
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writers: Mark Boal
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Harold Perrineau

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Review Transcript:
So how do you take the story of hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden, and make it into a bore of a movie? Well, you could make it a documentary, or you could do what Hollywood did and make it a feature film called…Zero Dark Thirty!

Now don’t get me wrong, this movie is technically well done. Technically well done. The acting is ok…I guess. Jessica Chastain gives a decent performance, though I’ve seen her do better. She gets a pass though because she’s hot and has red hair. Sorry, it’s a weakness. Otherwise the film looks good and…is historically accurate-ish? Actually it’s hard to say it always looks good because of the shaky camera shots!

So why do I say Zero Dark Thirty is boring? Well to start off, they went for the realistic approach. Normally this isn’t a bad thing, because the writers and directors behind other realistic historical films take enough creative license to create tension and/or make them interesting! Now admittedly it’s hard to make or even maintain tension in a movie like this because it spans an entire decade, and almost every explosion is telegraphed if you’ve paid attention to 1/100th of current events over the past ten years.

While the acting is fine, there is not a single interesting character. No, not even Jessica Chastain as Maya. It’s all bland, bland, boring, politics, moody, bland, telegraphed explosion! In fact the only time anyone seems to show any real emotion, they’re either being tortured or telegraphing their own demise. Then one character who only shows up for one scene is literally there to gush about Maya and to act as a source of exposition to get things moving along because she found vital information that got buried due to “human error” (aka convenient plot point). We never actually see her finding this information, nor do we ever see her again, but that’s the exposition fairy at work I guess.

The last three films I’ve seen have all been over 2 hours in length: The Hobbit (2:49), Django Unchained (2:45), and Zero Dark Thirty (2:37). Both The Hobbit and Django Unchained I could have watched for another hour or two and still loved them. Zero Dark Thirty on the other hand…I was ready to get up and leave because I checked my phone and saw that I still hand over an hour and a half left to watch.

So what kept me in my seat? Knowing that the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound was coming. No matter how boring I found the rest of the movie, surely the big attack we’ve been building up to this whole time would have the intensity and passion that the rest of this movie was lacking, right? Wrong! No tension, no passion, and instead of sounding like a group of trained soldiers on a serious mission, they sound like your average Joe in combat gear out for a stroll around a paintball field! This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that they’re supposed to be Seal Team Six! I don’t know, I would expect that they’d actually be taking the mission seriously!

Bottom line, this movie really disappointed me. The fact that it was nominated for four Golden Globes (one of which was won by Jessica Chastain) simply baffles me, and high rankings from both critics and regular viewers alike simply blows my mind. It’s “well made” and apparently pleases a fair number of people, but I say save your money and watch Cartman kick bin Laden’s ass on South Park.

I give Zero Dark Thirty: 2/502TwoStars

I’m Papa Kenn, and spoiler alert: wait until after the credits for a sneak preview of the upcoming sequel “O-zombie bin Laden-pocalypse”, directed by Michael Bay. Because…why the hell not?
See you next review!

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PapaKennReviews_ZeroDarkThirty

Categories: Movies, Reviews

5 Responses so far.

  1. Mark says:

    I thought the film was brilliant because despite the fact that we already know how this ends, I found it really engrossing. You have to really enjoy procedurals to enjoy this. It’s very detailed. I loved the way the search for bin Laden was presented a as a multi layered puzzled, how evidence and information was gathered and then utilized to pit the pieces together. Jessica Chastain put a face in the search. She was incredible actually. “I’m the Motherf—– Who Found This Place” has got to be the best line, said in the most perfect way, in any movie of 2012. Jason Clarke, who somehow hasn’t gotten any recognition, was pretty great as well.

    I won’t spoil the very end, but for genuine emotion, that final scene with Maya on the plane was heartbreaking.

    P.S. Forget the Golden Globes. Let’s talk real awards. This got 5 Oscar nominations!

    • Better yet, she said “I’m the motherfucker who found the place, SIR.” :)

    • PapaKenn says:

      Now see… I wish I could agree with you on this. But I just can’t. As soon as it started with the black screen and sounds of 9/11 I just thought “oh god.. here we go”.

      The entire movie felt like a high-budget version of those acted-out scenes you see in documentaries. In fact, I probably would have been more interested if this movie was a documentary.

      And the final scene with Maya on the plane? I didn’t feel anything. In fact, I laughed and said “take me to ‘merica” in the theater. Based on the laughs I got in the theater, I entertained people more than the movie did.


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