The only difference is that with the latter film there's at least some semblance of a story in the two-and-a-half hours preceding the 20 minutes worth of action. The first three-quarters of Zero Dark Thirty, on the other hand, consist mostly of Jessica Chastain telling various government officials that she knows where Bin Laden is hiding. Not in a cool way like breaking into song or something, either. Just talking. Any "Will they believe her in time?" drama is destroyed by the fact that every single person watching knows exactly how the movie is going to end.
Donald Kravitz / AFP / Stringer / Al Rai Al Aam / Getty
Still, if nothing else, it has some historical significance as a document of an important moment in American history, right? No, not really. The film plays like one long endorsement for the use of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" as crucial weapons in the war on terrorism. Meanwhile, in a speech delivered to the Senate, John McCain went so far as to say that the interrogation methods depicted in the film not only didn't lead to the capture of Bin Laden, they actually produced false information. After watching Zero Dark Thirty, though, you'd think Bin Laden would still be out there if not for the healing magic of simulated drowning.
Mario Tama/Getty Images News
Has freedom ever been this refreshing?
Zero Dark Thirty isn't a fact-based account of the hunt for the most wanted terrorist of all time, it's the Saw franchise for Toby Keith fans.