“Trailer Reaction”: Zero Dark Thirty (TV Spot)

Though I’m a fan of “Trailer Reactions” because they can begin to expose the potential strengths and weakness of a particular film, I ultimately respect them because, regardless of how the film turns out, they bring a movie’s title into the public eye, which, as a cinephile, is always a good thing. So, while the latest Zero Dark Thirty trailer may only be a :33 second TV spot, it deserves a reaction nonetheless since it goes without saying that Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker deserves more public attention as its limited December 19th release date draws closer (As for me, I could not be more excited, especially after putting it at #2 on my list of most anticipated Holiday Movies). Perhaps even more warranting of such a reaction is the fact that this half-a-minute TV Spot reveals more about this shrouded-in-secrecy-film than any of the previous full-length trailers have. Between this latest look at the movie and the extremely positive reviews coming out of special screenings on Sunday night, elements of Zero Dark Thirty are slowly coming to light in ways we haven’t seen yet, and if you still haven’t heard of this hunt for Osama Bin Laden movie, stop what you’re doing and watch the latest preview here, I think the films’ ganna be a winner:



What We’re Learning:

1) Jessica Chastain, Leading Lady: Ever since her 2011 hat-trick of The Help, The Tree of Life, and Take Shelter, Jessica Chastain has become one of my favorite actresses, a stunning beauty with a shocking range of vulnerable emotions. We’ve known for awhile that Chastain would have a hefty part in Zero Dark Thirty, but this TV Spot and the early reviews finally confirm that Chastain is the film’s leading lady and the women that takes us on the wild ride to locate and murder Osama Bin Laden. In the film, Chastain will star as Maya, a CIA-operative with an obsession over capturing the world’s most sought after terrorist (apparently based off of a real CIA agent who headed the operation). Only time will tell if Chastain’s Maya will be as ferociously intense as Homeland’s Carrie Matheson (my money says she will, especially with the cold delivery of lines like “We’ve been following you and watching you for a long time), but if Chastain can bring the strong willed determination that Claire Danes does every Sunday, than an Oscar nomination for Best Actress sounds very, very likely. Chastain has never been asked to carry a film on her own before, but I’m not too worried – Chastain has skills I could watch for days.

2) It’s More Than Just A Raid: A lot of the early looks at Zero Dark Thirty have been touting the action (there’s been plenty of explosions, guns, and shaky camera night vision), but this latest TV Spot puts things into a little more perspective; the bottom line: this is a movie about the entire hunt for Osama Bin Laden, not just the raid that took him down on May 2, 2011. For starters, the TV Spot tells us directly that, “We may know how it ended, but this is how it happened”, but even more revealing is probably the quick trailer’s tagline, “10 Years. 2 Wars. 1 Target.” The key here is the words “10 Years”, for with an official runtime if 160 minutes (that’s two-and-a-half hours!), Zero Dark Thirty looks to be a dense and extremely accurate timeline of the decade long events that led to the murder of Bin Laden. In other words, I wouldn’t be expecting a slam bam action film, and instead, it looks like Thirty will take its time and include more behinds the scenes talking and scrutiny than traditional guns and grenades war action. None of this is a diss – if anyone can make the CIA thrilling, it’s Bigelow  (sorry Affleck but this will probably up Argo!) – but it’s definitely important to realize now that the film will probably be more of a slow, dramatic build as opposed to a fast, flat-out sprint.

3) Bigelow Knows War: As if picking up the Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker or the early trailers for Zero Dark Thirty weren’t enough, let this TV Spot be a big, important reminder that Bigelow was the best choice possible to direct a movie on this grueling and timely subject matter. With The Hurt Locker, Bigelow created an intensely personal account of modern war, and Zero Dark Thirty seems to be an even more epic depiction of the same topic given its weighty, years-spanning plot, and Bigelow seems to be better than ever. From the colds greys of the interrogation rooms to the fiery oranges of the dessert, the darkened close-ups of a weary Chastain, and the artful-like explosions, Bigelow is painting a portrait of war that is unsettling, gruesome, tiresome, and extremely challenging. I especially love the shot of a tired Chastain in a big, empty room with nothing but a portrait of the American flag hung on the wall behind her. Whereas The Hurt Locker was fueled by white-knuckle tension on the battlefields, Zero Dark Thirty seems to be taking a more behind-the-scenes psychological approach, and from the seconds of footage we see here, the talking and strategizing is going to be just as intense as the actual gun firings and explosions.

Are you guys getting even more excited for Zero Dark Thirty as more and more of the plot becomes clear? Or am I the only one here? Sound off below…

Article by Zack Sharf


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