Zero Dark Thirty

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Chris Pratt, Taylor Kinney

The critics are falling head over heels for this movie giving it high praise. While the movie was well acted and contained some compelling moments, as a whole I found the movie to be lacking. It was cold, clinical, and not gritty enough, and the ending (and we all know how it ends) was particularly anti-climactic.

The minute I heard Osama Bin Laden was killed it was as if the story had turned into a fairy tale  Bin Laden was the boogey man killed by Seal Team 6, who still, to this day, remains a mystery. In Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain plays Maya, a young CIA Analyst who’s made it her life’s mission to make sure Bin Ladin is put down. Though timid and mousy in looks, Maya is a ruthless, ball buster. She knows and fights for what she wants even if she has to do and watch things that make her feel uncomfortable. It took Maya and her team and her superiors 10 years to find Bin Laden down culminating in the ultimate man hunt.

I wanted to LOVE Zero Dark Thirty, but my expectations were too high. Even with fantastic performances from Jason Clarke and Jessica Chastain, it felt like just another manhunt movie.  I know Kathryn Bigelow knows how to build tension (see Hurt Locker) and I felt the characters’ anger, and frustration, and horror when things went wrong, but I didn’t feel the passion, I didn’t feel like anything was on the line even though everything was. Take Argo for instance, you know the story. You know how it ends, and still, I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t have that same feeling during Zero Dark Thirty, and I really really wanted to.

Am I just being crazy? (Don’t answer that.) Was this movie really good and I just missed something?

 

Rating: 3 Stars.

 

 

 

Promised Land

Starring: Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemary DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy

I don’t really know where Promised Land came from or what Gus Van Sant was thinking when he decided to make this movie. This movie is proof that a good cast means nothing if you don’t have a good story, good writing, or characters you care about. It surprises me that this movie was written by both Matt Damon and John Krasinski.

Steve Butler and his partner Sue Thompson are sent to a rural small town in order to gain drilling rights to their property.  The town, on an economic decline, is in desperate need of relief, but a passion school teacher and environmentalist team up with their own campaign to prevent the town from signing over their rights. The town becomes divided between standard of living vs. quality of life and the potential hazards to their way of life. Thus begins the debate between small town life and big corporate business.

Well, the movie sounds just as exciting as it sounds. It’s filled with cliché moments and stereotypical small town characters. The movie is trying to go for an Erin Brockovich vibe, but what do you do when both the protagonist is a good person but a misguided corporate head hunter, and the antagonist is a manipulative person, whose purpose seems to be the most relatable and the most sympathetic? What you get are conflicting and confused feelings, but not in a good way, more in a “I don’t even think the characters know what kind of people they are” kind of way.

Like I said, the cast is excellent, I just wish they had better material to work with. Sorry Matt Damon, but sometimes nice guys DO finish last.

 

Rating: 2 Stars

 

 

 

 

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