I couldn’t wait until I saw this movie. It was closure in a way, a horrendous deed was done and for once the bad guy got caught. The historical drama, Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by Mark Boal and produced by Bigelow, Boal and Megan Ellison, centers around the events leading up to the discovery of Osama bin Laden’s hideout and his execution. Now there has been a lot of controversy with critics saying that the film did not give enough factual information, or that it downplayed the horror of torture. Maybe the critics are right, but who cares? For me, it was important to see this film. Why? One good reason; a group of terrorists known as al-Qaeda, were given an order from Osama bid Laden to attack and murder American citizens. I wanted to see how we finally caught the monster and this film does a good job in telling the story. Learn more after the jump.
A young CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) is given the assignment to focus on and document all intelligence reports concerning the whereabouts of Bin Laden (Ricky Sekhon). No one knows where he’s hiding. Her assignment takes her to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan where she works with fellow agents, Dan (Jason Clarke), Jessica (Jennifer Ehle) and Joe (Kyle Chandler). While there, Maya gets to see firsthand how Ammar (Reda Kateb), a detainee suspected of being a terrorist, is questioned. There is torture involved and the scenes are hard to watch, more on this later. Ammar reacts to the torture with half-truths or silence. After a particularly graphic scene where innocent people are killed in a bombing, Ammar is tricked into giving information on a man known as Abu Ahmed (Tushaar Mehra).
Abu Ahmed, alias for Ibrahim Sayeed, is the personal courier for Bin Laden. He delivers messages to and from Bin Laden’s hideout. If Maya can find Abu Ahmed, she will find Bin Laden, but it’s not easy getting the detainees to talk, but finally one does under torture. Maya learns that Abu Ahmed passes Bin Laden’s messages to Abu Faraj (Yoav Levi). The C.I.A. with the help of local police in Pakistan, capture Abu Faraj, but even under torture, the suspected terrorist refuses to admit he knows Abu Ahmed. Maya who is the poster child for O.C.D. and her team spend years sifting through documents and data in an attempt to track down Abu Ahmed.
Due to information given by another detainee, the C.I.A. is led to believe that Abu Ahmed is dead and that they have been looking for a ghost for the last nine years. Maya refuses to accept this report or stop her search for Abu Ahmed even when she is shot at by terrorists as she is leaving the embassy. Things go from bad to worse for Maya. Her senior officer tells her to stop looking for Abu Ahmed, the new administration is looking to prosecute anyone involved with the torture of detainees, and her friend, Jessica, along with several C.I.A. agents and soldiers are killed in a bombing. They were tricked into meeting a doctor claiming to know the whereabouts of Bin Laden.
A fellow agent working with intelligence archives finds out that Ibrahim Sayeed had a brother named Habib and maybe it was Habib who was dead and not Ibrahim. Now, our spies get to do their thing. The C.I.A buys a Kuwaiti prince a Lamborghini in exchange for Sayeed’s mother’s phone number. I was wondering why my taxes went up last year. Using all kinds of spyware and following Sayeed around for days, they finally track him to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Guess who else was located in Abbottabad? The Pakistan Military Academy had to know who their neighbor was, right? Maya gets the okay from C.I.A. Director (James Gandolfini) to enlist the help of the Navy Seals, Patrick (Joel Edgerton) and Justin (Chris Pratt) and their team.
Using stealth helicopters developed at area 51(yes where they keep the little green men) the Navy Seals head to the compound and in spite of complications, find and execute the monster on May 2, 2011. They bring the body of Bin Laden back to the base where Maya confirms his identity. The movie ends with Maya as the only passenger on a military transport heading to the U.S. When the pilot asks her where she wants to go, she doesn’t answer.
If you don’t live in a bubble, then you’ve heard of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay) and the reports claiming that torture was used on the terrorists. Zero Dark Thirty had graphic torture scenes and it was hard for me to watch them…but…we are dealing with crazy people who think nothing of bombing innocent men, women and children. I’m against torturing any living thing, but what if one of my grandchildren were hurt or killed by a terrorist, then what? Would I think differently? Would you? When does a wrong become the right thing to do?