Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

IMDB, Zero Dark Thirty“Zero Dark Thirty” on IMDB

Drama, 157 Minutes, 2012

This was a great movie.  Incredibly well acted, incredibly well paced, incredibly well written.  It deserves all the accolades it received and more – moreso because it could have so easily been a self-aggrandizing, America – fuck yeah!  anthem but instead delved much deeper and much more honestly.

The story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is told from the perspective of the analysts, interrogators and ultimately the SEALS that risked their lives and completed the groundwork.  It examines the complexity and often sheer luck involved.  It addresses the ethical questions of torture and intelligence gathering without either casting a blind eye or preaching.  The subject matter is important and this movie does it justice.  It’s an achievement.

As many accolades as the movie as been given I do feel that the most important scene has been sadly overlooked.  About 20 twenty minutes into the movie Jessica Chastain [IMDB], in possibly the role of her career, makes herself some toast.  But she makes only one piece!

This character is a driven, passionate, powerful woman fighting tooth-and-nail to do the nearly impossible.  She’s in a constant struggle to prove and get the attention her information deserves.  She maintains her focus through radically changing politics, increased public pressure for results and funding issues.  She’s given up any hope for a social life, left family and lost friends.

Yet she feels she deserves only one of piece of toast.  Toasters have two slots.  Toasters with more have them grouped in twos.  Bread comes in an even number of slices.  No restaurant has even had a single slice of toast on their menu.  All of this supports the two-slice standard given to Americans by the Lord-God-in-heaven-above!  This simple but brilliant scene drills like a machine into the very soul of her character.  It completely and totally glues the movie together.  The toast scene is only a few seconds long but will be discussed by film students for decades to come.

Or, maybe, skinny people just make one piece at a time.  I don’t know.

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