My Favorite Scene: Zero Dark Thirty (2012) “Bring Me People To Kill!”

After Kathryn Bigelow gets Detroit out this week, following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the woman really needs to mellow out and make a movie about animated ducks or something.  She is possibly the most INTENSE director about unflinchingly taking on controversial, contemporary issues working today, and my first sentence was flippant, because we need someone doing that.  Hollywood doesn’t really finance many message pictures anymore, any issue pictures, and that’s what Bigelow brings to the table.

Zero Dark Thirty is a controversial movie for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the graphic torture depicted (which happened), but also because it was made so soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden.  The “War of Terror” is so frustrating because it isn’t traditional warfare.  Our enemies don’t wear uniforms, adhere to a country, or even a single doctrine.  It’s more a war against a sick madness and how do you fight that?  The hunt for bin Laden was so important to Americans because he was the face.  He was the uniform, the symbol, the figurehead.  There are a lot of powerful scenes in the film but I like this meeting at the beginning with Mark Strong (tremendously underrated actor) painting the picture of frustration of the American people that this man had eluded the largest manhunt in history for a decade and sets the stage for everything to come.

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty