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ZERO DARK THIRTY
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Release date: December 19th
This second trailer for Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow's much-buzzed-about follow up to 2008's Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker) grabs me. I was underwhelmed by the first trailer which had a lot of cliche elements (resounding bass notes a la Inception that everyone has been using to excess dramatic effect, generic-looking explosions, overusing the "blacked out words" gimmick, and tension based in a concept a lot of America has moved on from), but this trailer succeeds by addressing the audience directly and never letting go ("Can I be honest with you? I have bad news...") The stakes become high for the viewer personally. When the voiceover asks, "Any questions?" my response is, "Yes. Lots." For example, what in the world does "zero dark thirty" mean?
And then it gives some answers. Kyle Chandler is looking good in a suit and scowl. Jessica Chastain is a long way from Jackson, Mississippi in her office analyzing what looks to be endless, frustrating footage. And look, Andy from "Parks and Recreation" is playing horseshoes and talking about Osama bin Laden like a kid swapping ghost stories around the campfire. Remember the days when the world first heard his name -- "Osama bin Laden" -- and suddenly he was everywhere? And yet, he was nowhere. Even knowing the ending to this story doesn't make me less excited to see the outcome because we know so little about how it happend. Will this be an historical account of events? Perhaps more than most. It was scripted before bin Laden was killed and the ending reworked when the mission was successful. The name of the film itself (zero one thirty meaning 1:30AM; therefore zero dark thirty meaning a dark hour in the early morning) speaks to the fact that this mission was and still is shrouded in secrecy. How much will be filled in with artistic liberties? How much can be based on fact, since it deals with top-secret information? One of my concerns for the film is that it will be heavy handed with patriotism, painting America to be all-the-world's hero. The film will also be released just after the presidential election, leaving us to speculate about whether its advertising might handily remind the populace of President Obama's not-long-ago victory. However, Obama's name reportedly makes no appearance in the film.
Regardless of political ramifications, the film itself looks tightly crafted with more relatable characters than The Hurt Locker, and if I know anything about film, it's that the Academy loves to celebrate fictionalized American heroism. Look for this (and Jessica Chastain) to dominate during awards season. Meanwhile, I'll be seeing it theaters based on the strength of this trailer alone.
NEXT WEEK: Iron Man 3