Go See Zero Dark Thirty Right Now
Every adult American that does not have PTSD, restless leg syndrome, or any other ailment that would emotionally or physically prevent them from sitting through a two and a half hour-long war movie needs to go see Zero Dark Thirty as soon as possible. It is your duty as an American.
Zero Dark Thirty tells the story of the raid, from build-up to execution, that killed Osama bin Laden. Although it is a fictional movie, it is based on real events, and is the closest thing we have to a story of what really happened that night. Further, film is a very American way of storytelling, and it makes sense that this almost mythical national event would seek to illuminate itself in such a beloved, if fictionalized medium.
When news of Osama bin Laden’s death poured in on May 2, 2011, I was at Collegetown Bagels in Ithaca with my friend Hayley. We were surprised to hear of his death and disgusted by the celebration that immediately followed. The streets of Collegetown swarmed with cars and trucks beeping, flying American flags, blasting “America Fuck Yeah” from Team America World Police. It was a confusing time. We were happy that our country finally captured and killed its enemy, but uncomfortable about the local and surely worldwide celebrations of a man’s murder (assassination??). We felt conflicted because listening to “America Fuck Yeah” was gross and hilarious at the same time. And we were certainly not convinced by the DNA evidence, body-dump in the ocean, and STILL unreleased photos of the late bin Laden.
Zero Dark Thirty makes its home in this world of gray. There are no easy black-and-whites to help us make sense of things. Torture is disgusting and inhumane, but how else can we get the information we need? A lot of time, effort, money, and lives were spent trying to kill a man who was a mass-murderer, a religious zealot, a leader, a father. And in the end, was it really Osama bin Laden at all?
Beyond muddying boundaries and informing our narrative on the timeline between September 11, 2001 and May 2, 2011, Zero Dark Thirty has other reasons to be celebrated. Namely, my favorite thing: a STRONG FEMALE LEAD! Jessica Chastain is tough, smart, and inspirational, hard-working but human too. And amazingly, she is not the token woman. Throughout the film, women keep popping up with new ideas and new information. It is women who push this one-ton boulder without wheels that is the assassination of Osama bin Laden to the finish line; without them it seems the men would have given up and gone home. GIRL POWER!
Zero Dark Thirty opens nationwide on Jan 11, which is today. Go.