Zero Dark Thirty: Movie Review

Jan 14, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Movies, Ryne Preheim, Teens

by Ryne Preheim

Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.

Zero Dark Thirty is a slow-paced, political and military filled informational movie. The movie starts out in Pakistan with an interrogation scene between Dan (Jason Clarke, Public Enemies, Lawless) and an Al Qaeda informant. Into the interrogation you meet the main character of the film Maya (Jessica Chastain, The Help, Tree of Life). From this point you will follow Maya and her search for information leading to the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden.

Now be warned, this movie is not for the faint of heart, but it is very informational. This movie stumbles at points when trying to convey information to the audience. I would often find myself trying to tie pieces together to figure out what was going on within the story line. The plot will often shift from entirely different years, and give you new information to process, which makes it hard to differentiate between what information is viable and what information has been thrown out.

Character development is hard to notice in anyone besides Maya herself, and even then it leaves something to be desired. I often felt detached from the characters to the point where one of them could die and you wouldn’t even bat an eye. Throughout the film, names are left out; I found myself listening closely to conversations just to try and pick up the name of the person Maya was talking to. And don’t expect any last names besides one or two. Characters are often introduced by their first name and only their first name, so good luck trying to figure out anything about the characters, and at points they would introduce a new character and expect you to know who they were or what their position was within the C.I.A. without even a name.

The actors portrayal of the characters left me wanting more, but I can’t really blame them, the script didn’t really give any of them (besides Jessica Chastain) a chance to express their character emotions fully. It was hard to create a bond between yourself and the person on the screen. Jason Clarke and Jessica Chastain did the best job out of the entire cast, but that is only because they had the most screen time and the most opportunities to express their characters and their motives.

In conclusion, while there were moments that I did like about the film, I often found myself confused and wanting to know more about the story being portrayed in the film. I think this movie might have been rushed out of production and not polished quite enough for the audience to understand the movie without seeing it once or twice. Finally, if you like military thrillers then this movie could be interesting to you, but keep your ears open to every single detail or you will miss something vital in the story line, for everyone else, I would not recommend this film, it deprives the audience of information and is too long to sit through, overall I give it a 2.5/5.

Zero Dark Thirty is currently playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes for other shows playing in Dinuba can be found on their website.

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Ryne Preheim is a junior at Immanuel High School, he enjoys acting, and improv comedy. He has acted for four years now mostly for the Immanuel High School drama program. He has lived in Reedley his entire life. He is the son of Paul and Candi Preheim and has three siblings, Mallory, Courtney, and Hayley.


  1. The absence of conventional “character” development in “Zero Dark Thirty” is deliberate.

    This is a cold, ruthless movie about cold, ruthless (and outer-directed) people.

    They have feelings, but they spend zero time thinking about, talking about, or contemplating them. You’re not going to find them preoccupied with the delicate, quivering, hair-fine filaments of their sensitivity.

    Thank God. I get -so- tired of art about self-obsessed emo types. It’s unbearably self-referential.

  2. Hey, thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it!

    And I can definitely see where you are coming from, and think you may be right on this one.

    Looking back the theme of an impersonal movie fits the events well… for those who like that kind of movie

    I like the occasional documentary and a movie like this one, but for some reasons, as I explained in the article above, I didn’t like it.

    But maybe I’ll catch it another time with that point of view, and I’ll see what I think 🙂

    Ryne Lawerence Preheim

    • lol it auto-corrected my own middle name, but for some reason left my first name spelled correctly, haha


  3. I’ve not yet seen Zero Dark Thirty but plan to. IT sounds as tho the author of this article believes all of the “information” presented in the film is truth and nothing but the truth. Does the film credit the sources?

    • I didn’t see it do that, but I did leave before the credits roll, they could have given credit there, but if it was anywhere else, I didn’t see it or I don’t remember.


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