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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Ellen Pham, Chamberlain High
If you’re looking for a movie about rainbow-colored unicorns so sweet they belch cotton candy and lollipops, stop reading. Rightly so, the film controversially centered upon the search for and demise of one of the world’s most notorious murderers offers little whimsy and few hearty chuckles. The dramatized portrayal of the vicious manhunt is unapologetically bold.
Cinematic renditions of real-life events have a tendency to avoid stepping on the toes of the people they’re based on, but Zero Dark Thirty has no problem outright stomping on them. Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a CIA officer whose primary objective in life is catching infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The film showcases the several interrogations Maya does in order to get information on possible suspects linked to bin Laden as well as the danger and tragedy she endures to follow her leads.
Zero Dark Thirty conveys a wincing brutality that is not only sorrowful but also mesmerizing. It’s in these heartaching scenes that you truly get a limited but pure sense of the pain afflicted upon innocent people during those globally tense times. In one rather distressing scene, Maya’s fellow officer (Jason Clarke) humiliates a prisoner with knowledge about terrorist whereabouts by placing a collar around his neck and stripping him naked.
The suspense is enough to cut cinder blocks. Then just when everything seems to be settling down, boom! The first explosion is the worst, because it’s completely unexpected, and afterward, the anticipation builds until the next malefic event.
Maya is (just a tad) obsessive about capturing bin Laden. But she’s the character people want to root for because she’s so passionate about it. The hardships Maya overcomes add another dimension to her — one that’s vulnerable and strikingly realistic — and reveal her growth in maturity and dedication.
Maya is the kind of female character who makes ardent feminists rejoice, but in the beginning of the film, Chastain spits her supposedly gritty lines in a way that’s hardly convincing. She’s too timid and too dull, which makes it hard to believe she’s an eager, forceful CIA agent hunting down a man who killed more than 3,000 people. Thankfully, halfway in, Chastain settles in and finally exudes the vibrant aggressiveness that’s crucial to playing Maya.
Zero Dark Thirty has a refreshing take on the bin Laden search. Sure, it would’ve been easy to make all U.S. decision appear glorious, but there are brief glimpses of resistance that show how our alleged “victory” was someone else’s tragedy. Not to mention, the torture and embarrassment the CIA used to retrieve information depicted is almost as gruesome as it is excruciating to watch. The film blurs the definition of who the victim really is.