Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Follow us on   
Search   
Forum Home Register for Free! Log In Moderator Tickets FAQ Users Online

RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating

 
Logged in as: Guest
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [Film Forums] >> Film Reviews >> RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating Page: <<   < prev  1 2 [3]
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:04:36 PM   
Normal Control


Posts: 82
Joined: 11/11/2012

quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: Normal Control
To me, 5 stars is saying this movie is brilliant, and I should spend my time and money to go see it. It says even if I don't like the politics, at least technically it's a great movie and I'll be entertained. Then I'm seeing this 2-star average and thinking WTF - this movie can't be good on any level. Begs the question about quality control for Empire reviews.


What on earth are you talking about? Different people have different opinions. This review is based on one person's opinion. This thread features many others versus that one opinion. If the net was cast wider maybe there'd be more 5 stars caught. I mean...what do you want? Do you think Empire should wait until they collect the varying opinions from the review threads before publishing their own? Just so it falls in line with this ridiculous 'average' you're talking about? What silly horseshit. Go and see the bloody thing yourself. You have free will, don't you?



Ok man, I'm the last one to suggest majority opinion is always right, but it takes a big mathematical diffence in opinion to sway from 5 stars to 2. I'm saying that gap is so big that 5 stars has probably over-rated it. And if so, that's worth a little criticism. Fair enough?

I might see the bloody thing. I'll be going in with low expectations, so that's gonna make it easier to impress me. I'll post back here if I do go.

By the way, the difference between reviewers/journos getting paid to write their stuff (and get it objectively right as possible) and comments from the average cinema punter who paid to watch something they liked or disliked is.... oh forget it.

_____________________________

"you would need three promotions to get to be an asshole!"

(in reply to DancingClown)
Post #: 61
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:20:57 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire
I didn't understand a word you just said, BatSpider.

EDIT - Damn my grammatical incompetence.

< Message edited by MonsterCat -- 31/1/2013 3:31:08 PM >


_____________________________

"I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you."

Films watched in 2013

(in reply to Normal Control)
Post #: 62
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:29:03 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5060
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: Normal Control

Nice one Kimbo. Seriously man, just coz a movie's flavour of the week in the discussion lounges doesn't mean it's a great movie. I thought The Hurt Locker was over-rated shite, and this looks similar in outlook. I almost wanna see this to check what I make of it. Almost.


That tends to be the most reliable way one forms an opinion on a film. Unless one is a fucking idiot.

_____________________________

www.hollywoodunbound.co.uk - some nonsense about alien film directors and musclebound man-children.

(in reply to Normal Control)
Post #: 63
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:29:04 PM   
Normal Control


Posts: 82
Joined: 11/11/2012
uhhh, what's a batspider? I didn't a word you just said either..

_____________________________

"you would need three promotions to get to be an asshole!"

(in reply to MonsterCat)
Post #: 64
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:32:46 PM   
AxlReznor

 

Posts: 1623
Joined: 2/12/2010
From: Great Britain
quote:

ORIGINAL: horribleives


quote:

ORIGINAL: Normal Control

Nice one Kimbo. Seriously man, just coz a movie's flavour of the week in the discussion lounges doesn't mean it's a great movie. I thought The Hurt Locker was over-rated shite, and this looks similar in outlook. I almost wanna see this to check what I make of it. Almost.


That tends to be the most reliable way one forms an opinion on a film. Unless one is a fucking idiot.


Judging by his previous posts, I'll be generous, and say the jury's still out on that.

(in reply to horribleives)
Post #: 65
RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating - 31/1/2013 3:35:37 PM   
Normal Control


Posts: 82
Joined: 11/11/2012

quote:

ORIGINAL: horribleives


quote:

ORIGINAL: Normal Control

Nice one Kimbo. Seriously man, just coz a movie's flavour of the week in the discussion lounges doesn't mean it's a great movie. I thought The Hurt Locker was over-rated shite, and this looks similar in outlook. I almost wanna see this to check what I make of it. Almost.


That tends to be the most reliable way one forms an opinion on a film. Unless one is a fucking idiot.


I totally agree man. I haven't said I think the movie's crap or unfair. I haven't given any star rating, exactly because I haven't seen it yet. I've only noticed the huge disparity between the reviewer's opinion and most of the pundits and thought that was interesting and worth a comment.

_____________________________

"you would need three promotions to get to be an asshole!"

(in reply to horribleives)
Post #: 66
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/reviews-296 - 31/1/2013 5:25:55 PM   
BenTramer

 

Posts: 935
Joined: 18/3/2009
Check out my review of Zero Dark Thirty at the above link.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 67
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/reviews-296 - 31/1/2013 5:25:58 PM   
BenTramer

 

Posts: 935
Joined: 18/3/2009
Check out my review of Zero Dark Thirty at the above link.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 68
RE: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/reviews-296 - 31/1/2013 9:45:55 PM   
Yosy

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 8/1/2011
My, my, where to begin....

The Empire review is waaaayyy off - 1st paragraph is completely wrong when the reviewer mistakes James Gandolfini's character - which is meant to be CIA Director Leon Panetta - by a "White House aide". And after that it's all downhill....

This movie is a 3 star at best - very little character development all around. Jessica Chastain's character Maya looks more like a drug-addicted than a committed woman wanting to catch OBL: addressing her superior in a completely inappropriate way (screaming, cursing...and this is coming from someone that wouldn't have a relationship with a coworker because "it would be unbecoming"), scribbling in the door of the office of a superior officer, etc - in real life they would have put her in a psychologist's office.

Then there's the famous torture. The movie is sneaky enough not to be to pro-torture but its undeniable the message it wants to send - torture works and we caught OBL because of it. This is more evident when the prisioners start spilling the beans after torture and when a character complains that (in 2008) the prisioners are useless now because "they will all lawyer up" if he starts talking to them.

The Navy SEALs are portrayed as mini-Rambos, almost all with beards to give them a tough look. No mention is made of the countless hours the actual SEALs spent in the US, on a live-size replica of the compound, rehearsing for the actual raid. No, in the movie they get called then they're in Afghanistan, then they are doing the raid.

Also, this is a boring movie. No two ways about it (the actual raid, even though we know how it will end, is the most exciting part of the movie). We travel a lot, mostly from CIA black-site to CIA black-site, meet some of the same characters, get to see some explosions and such, but it's all very boring and confusing and because the characters are so bland we end up not really caring for them. Bigelow should have looked to Fincher and his Zodiac to see how a movie about a one-man/woman hunt for a killer can be done in an exciting way.

This is a work of fiction posing as a pseudo-documentary. True, we don't know everything yet about this stuff but what we DO know contradicts this supposed first-hand account on so many levels.

(in reply to BenTramer)
Post #: 69
Really Good film - 1/2/2013 1:36:43 AM   
dinkydog

 

Posts: 11
Joined: 22/11/2012
Same as above

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 70
5 stars for this no-style documentary? - 1/2/2013 3:35:26 PM   
dseys

 

Posts: 176
Joined: 10/8/2012
I found this movie gripping, interesting, didn't look at my watch... But cinematographically it's just worth NOTHING. It looks like a cheap TV documentary. It's a shame a MOVIE magazine like Empire gives it 5 stars. Giving 5 stars is just like saying: "this is perfect filmmaking, this is how a movie has to be". Plus, if this wasn't based on "real events", this would just be an average thriller with a very predictable plot.

And at the same time, you guys aren't giving "Django Unchained" the 5 stars it clearly deserves. Perfectly acted, perfectly written, perfectly shot, entertaining and at the same time very personnal, "Django" was an example of filmmaking.

< Message edited by dseys -- 1/2/2013 3:38:31 PM >

(in reply to dinkydog)
Post #: 71
RE: 5 stars for this no-style documentary? - 1/2/2013 8:39:57 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Yep, this block button really comes in handy...

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to dseys)
Post #: 72
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 2/2/2013 1:55:20 AM   
Quentin Black

 

Posts: 38
Joined: 2/10/2005
An incredible film that was always going to be polarizing. While it may not be as purely entertaining as similar films like Argo, it's nuanced portrayal of the events and people involved makes it a far superior film. It depicts the grey realities of war and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden with subtlety, maturity and honesty - condemning the immoral without being a liberal message movie. Like all great art, it allows the audience to think, debate and finally judge for themselves on some very relevant and important themes and issues of our time.

It isn't for everyone and is inevitably going to fuel rants from idiots and nut-jobs on both sides of the debate but make no mistake - it is one the best films of this year. Were it not for it's divisive subject matter it would be a clear front runner for best picture.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 73
seen the bloody thing - 3/2/2013 11:37:36 AM   
Normal Control


Posts: 82
Joined: 11/11/2012
ok, here's my take. Technically it's fine. The direction and acting looks like everyone tried hard, if you can excuse some clunky bits.

The politics are 'relatively' even-handed, and intentionally or not, Bigelow allows the early torture prisoner come off as the coolest person in the movie for me. The guy that played the lead torturer was also pretty cool. With this in mind, I don't think the torture scenes were anywhere near as brutal/uncomfortable as they could have been.

Actually the movie seemed a bit luke-warm overall, but we can be grateful it wasn't trying to ram home a message.

For me, the thing that inevitably pulls the movie down is the narrative. We know how it ends. The script clumsily shoe-horns a few post 9/11 terrorist and insurgent attacks to give the movie a few action beats before the end, but the element of surprise is needed in any thriller (or is this meant to be a documentary?), and there's nothing surprising in the movie. You wouldn't miss out not seeing it.

I hope Bigelow changes her military schtick for her next movie. How about some zen bankrobber snowboarders or something.

*spoiler alert* - the goat does make a tiny brief appearance, so I gave this an extra star for that.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 74
- 4/2/2013 5:24:48 PM   
bretty

 

Posts: 197
Joined: 6/10/2005
An intense film about the hunt for Bin Laden from the first bits of information squeezed out through waterboarding prisoners, to the raid itself. The viewer is given no spin but is allowed to make up their mind about the degree to which the end can justify the means. Within this is the perspective of a CIA agent for whom the hunt has become an obsession and she loses friends and, to a degree her own freedom.
It's objective and compelling viewing and I hope there are some awards to come...

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 75
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 7/2/2013 10:29:36 PM   
CeejSays

 

Posts: 5
Joined: 7/1/2013
Advertising link removed

Review: After all the Oscar buzz surrounding this movie, I found myself sadly underwhelmed by what I was watching. While the subject matter was undeniably interesting, the main characters all felt surprisingly hollow and one-dimensional, and I saw nothing Oscar-worthy about Chastain's performance, aside from one or two brief moments. Bigelow's insistence of having a blurry, out-of-focus object in the foreground of every second shot proved to be frustratingly distracting, and while some of the supporting cast did well with what little they were given (Clarke and Strong in particular) and the finale was undeniably tense, this film simply failed to engage me in any significant way.

Rating: 6.5/10

< Message edited by elab49 -- 7/2/2013 11:07:25 PM >

(in reply to ajm1991)
Post #: 76
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 12/2/2013 1:07:37 PM   
lamby

 

Posts: 98
Joined: 18/10/2005
The film was absolutely incredible and one of the best I've seen in years. It was so intense that if you shoved a piece of coal up my arse a diamond would have popped out at the end.

So good I'm going to see it again tonight.

5 stars and more.
Post #: 77
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 13/2/2013 12:03:11 PM   
demoncleaner


Posts: 2377
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Belfast
I thought it was excellent.  I finally saw it last night and thought it was absolutely excellent.

The problem with holding that opinion is that people can think you’ve been converted to a kind of thigh-slapping, “yee-haw, we got him!” jingoism.  I’ve worked hard at garnering a personal reputation as a laborious regurgitating Chomsky-ite, so much so that people have looked funny at me when I’ve told them a) I wanted to see this and now, b) I loved it.    I really don’t see why though, I was mainly curious if Bigelow’s film could stick to the “how”of the operation and spare pronouncements in justification of the “why”.  It’s entirely subjective of course but I’m pretty confident Zero Dark Thirty is 95% how and 5% why (my maths have stood me in good stead there).  The bottom line is that my personal instinct and attitudes remain unchanged but I still found the film deeply involving and ultimately, extremely satisfying.    

If there’s an ethical problem (from a left-liberal point of view) then it’s probably to do with the fact that if you were inclined to celebrate a militaristic show of strength at the time this appeared on the news then you’ll still probably find the same celebration of militarism in this film. But this is just a symptom of the film not really pushing the debate of the moral and pragmatic value of killing bin Laden.  The ‘debate’ is resigned to one scene with Maya and her boss Joseph Bradley where the latter states that her target is out of the game, whereas she contends he’s very much still directing terror exclusively to the US.  In other words, a contrary view point on whether there is a peace-keeping element to eliminating UBL or if it’s just plain revenge.  You could argue that a drama like this has an obligation to force this debate but as it turns out I’m really glad it didn’t.  In its agenda, the film takes its cue from its main character, in that the motive or “value”of taking bin Laden out is immaterial.  This is the one dispassionate task of the main character and we are tasked to watch her (largely dispassionately I have to say).  The moral bun-fight is thus largely avoided and that’s perhaps the pertinent thing to do when the motives for disposing of BL is so entrenched to a moral 50/50 of self-preservation versus national aggrandizement.  So, basically, I’m glad this restricted itself to the methodology.        

I think that if the viewer has the faculty to maintain any rationality then this film won’t sway them in any adverse directions that’s why I think accusations of US propaganda is pretty much bollocks.  I mean, if you’re an impressionable headbanger then yes, you could find a glorying element in this, but that’s impressionable headbangers for you in general- best not to get involved with them that’s what I say.    Similarly I think the film works best with a sort of chill, we’re back to that dispassionate thing again and for the most part we’re not watching people, we’re watching the job.  For dramatic purposes we do see the occasional instance of Maya breaking the glass ceiling of her job to let a personal response show through, but these are fairly rare and small occurrences; moments that have the slight capacity to irritate in actual fact and that is why I also think it is utter bollocks to criticise “under-developed character”.    It seems to me a covetously regulated mix where if you stretch any character beyond what the profession requires then you begin to acquire no uncertain degrees of sanctimony. 

That’s my feeling anyway.  The last thing I would say about this film was that I found it completely gripping, minute-by-minute, throughout its run-time, in that sense I found it highly entertaining.  But it wasn’t entertaining in a traditional sense, there were no vicarious thrills for instance and the violene and threat of violence was actually verging on sickening.  I mean that as a compliment, not a criticism.

5/5

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 78
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 13/2/2013 9:01:17 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8410
Joined: 13/4/2006
Have reviewed it elsewhere so won't go into too much detail here.

Other than I don't get where the debate surrounding the movie is about touture alone like that is the only theme, it is about far more than that. Also its not as if the Myra character is treated as if she is a hero, but more than often like she has developed an ego and is getting overly obsessed. The characters are cold, because they work in a very cold business, this also adds to the tension in the film.

(in reply to demoncleaner)
Post #: 79
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 14/2/2013 4:53:29 AM   
CC80

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 14/2/2013

quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Have reviewed it elsewhere so won't go into too much detail here.

Other than I don't get where the debate surrounding the movie is about touture alone like that is the only theme, it is about far more than that. Also its not as if the Myra character is treated as if she is a hero, but more than often like she has developed an ego and is getting overly obsessed. The characters are cold, because they work in a very cold business, this also adds to the tension in the film.


Meh, making most of the characters cold in order to create tension is what every "gritty" TV police procedural and theatrical political thriller does as a cheap tactic to drum up drama instead of through story or character development.

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 80
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 15/2/2013 11:47:22 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8410
Joined: 13/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: CC80


quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Have reviewed it elsewhere so won't go into too much detail here.

Other than I don't get where the debate surrounding the movie is about touture alone like that is the only theme, it is about far more than that. Also its not as if the Myra character is treated as if she is a hero, but more than often like she has developed an ego and is getting overly obsessed. The characters are cold, because they work in a very cold business, this also adds to the tension in the film.


Meh, making most of the characters cold in order to create tension is what every "gritty" TV police procedural and theatrical political thriller does as a cheap tactic to drum up drama instead of through story or character development.

I don't really see how you can add drama that way, that surely comes through the performances, atmoshpere, visual style etc.

Also there is plenty of character development here, the Myra character is totally different at the end of the film than when it starts.

(in reply to CC80)
Post #: 81
- 17/2/2013 11:54:56 AM   
TheGodfather


Posts: 5335
Joined: 21/10/2005
From: Sin City
Finally seen yesterday:

Zero Dark Thirty
After all the raving reviews and things I had heard about it my expectations were high. Too bad not all of them were met. As a whole, it somewhat dissapointed me.
That is especially because of the first part of the film (the first hour, hour and a half), that was very fragmented. It felt like loose sand and went too fast. Names are thrown back and forth wich makes you need to pay attention at all time. That doesn`t always work, sometimes you lose it when they`re talking about all the different terrorists they`re hunting. Boal and Bigelow expect their audience to know a thing or two about the matter.

It`s a relief when in the last hour the speed goes down and operation Geronimo begins. That is the best part of the film. Thanks to the way it is shot it looks like you as the audience are a part of the team. That is very exciting and intense.

Biggest selling point of the film is of course (again) Jessica Chastain. Once again she shows what a great actrice she is. The level of her acting exceeds that of the script. Her character evolvement from uncertain to a self assured, hard agent without mercy is excellent. A brilliant role that deserved a better script and a better film.

Bigelow brings the hunt for Bin Laden in just over 2.,5 hours to the screen. But somehow you get the feeling that parts were let out or could`ve been longer to serve the film as a whole.
There was much to do around the release of Bigelow`s new film but in the end it dissapointed a little bit and left expecting more of it.

7,5/10

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 82
Not bad - 18/2/2013 4:17:03 PM   
sephiroth7

 

Posts: 152
Joined: 14/10/2009
It was well made and the last 45 mins were electrifying but it 's, let's be honest, kind of dull at times.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 83
RE: - 24/2/2013 6:14:02 PM   
Mr Gittes

 

Posts: 570
Joined: 3/2/2013

quote:

ORIGINAL: TheGodfather

Finally seen yesterday:

Zero Dark Thirty
After all the raving reviews and things I had heard about it my expectations were high. Too bad not all of them were met. As a whole, it somewhat dissapointed me.
That is especially because of the first part of the film (the first hour, hour and a half), that was very fragmented. It felt like loose sand and went too fast. Names are thrown back and forth wich makes you need to pay attention at all time. That doesn`t always work, sometimes you lose it when they`re talking about all the different terrorists they`re hunting. Boal and Bigelow expect their audience to know a thing or two about the matter.

It`s a relief when in the last hour the speed goes down and operation Geronimo begins. That is the best part of the film. Thanks to the way it is shot it looks like you as the audience are a part of the team. That is very exciting and intense.

Biggest selling point of the film is of course (again) Jessica Chastain. Once again she shows what a great actrice she is. The level of her acting exceeds that of the script. Her character evolvement from uncertain to a self assured, hard agent without mercy is excellent. A brilliant role that deserved a better script and a better film.

Bigelow brings the hunt for Bin Laden in just over 2.,5 hours to the screen. But somehow you get the feeling that parts were let out or could`ve been longer to serve the film as a whole.
There was much to do around the release of Bigelow`s new film but in the end it dissapointed a little bit and left expecting more of it.

7,5/10

I'd pretty much agree with you on everything, except for the disappointment factor; because I was actually expecting to be a little underwhelmed (if that makes any sense). I mean, it was never going to be another Hurt Locker. I'd still give it four stars but I know this will be one of those movies that will improve on each viewing and I'm looking forward to watching it again in the future.

(in reply to TheGodfather)
Post #: 84
RE: Zero Dark Thirty - 28/2/2013 11:50:08 AM   
chris kilby

 

Posts: 1264
Joined: 31/3/2010
As a thematic and stylistic companion piece to Kathryn Bigelow’s last film, Zero Dark Thirty is virtually (and visually) The Hurt Locker 2. Written by Mark Boal, it’s also Blackhawk Down 2 but with a happier ending. Except for Osama bin Laden, of course.

The ten year hunt for bin Laden ended just eighteen months before Zero Dark Thirty’s release. Too soon? It was more than a decade before America was ready to confront the trauma of Vietnam on the big screen. But when is the right time? Was All The President’s Men too soon? Or United 93? It’s never too soon for the first draft of history with all the controversy that inevitably entails.

And controversy has stalked this film as doggedly as its obsessive heroine pursues Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty has been wildly accused of condoning torture. But does it? It’s a good question with no easy answers. But it’s telling that the film has been accused of “propagandising” by both left and right on both sides of the Atlantic. Always a good sign in my book, it suggests the film must be doing something right. Like the BBC.

No-one has accused Zero Dark Thirty of pulling its punches though. Far from shying away from torture, its excruciating first act unflinchingly focuses on the “enhanced interrogation” of al Qaeda terrorist suspects to an almost forensic degree. Indeed it is this dispassionate depiction of the torture and degradation of prisoners at CIA “black sites” around the globe which has proved so controversial. But is the coldly objective depiction of torture tantamount to condoning it?

Zero Dark Thirty’s somewhat unique production history has a bearing on this. Originally conceived as a film about the failure to capture bin Laden, this clearly changed after the decisive events on the night of May 2nd 2011. So what perhaps started out as a film which condemned torture as ineffective and even counter-productive may have ended up inadvertently condoning it. Context (and timing) is everything.

Zero Dark Thirty would be a very different film if bin Laden was still alive. And that’s what is so compelling about it. Traditionally, Hollywood is slow to keep up with current events for obvious reasons. But just 18 months on from the killing of bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty feels ripped from the headlines.

The film certainly doesn’t revel in torture and nor do we. Nor are we supposed to. These scenes are disturbing and intentionally so. But neither explicitly condoning nor condemning torture and letting audiences draw their own conclusions has wrong-footed some and left others indignant with rage.

Maya (the increasingly ubiquitous Jessica Chastain) is initially shocked by what she sees and so are we. But she soon becomes desensitised and complicit; accustomed to treating torture matter-of-factly as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary. And so do we? I suspect Bigelow might be making a wider point here. It’s telling that Zero Dark Thirty’s “interrogators” know themselves how uncertain their constantly shifting moral high ground is. And how subject it is to the whims of politicians and the ballot box. Maya is warned not to be the one left “holding the hose” when the political terrain inevitably shifts again.

Zero Dark Thirty goes out of its way to humanise torturer and victim. The protracted torture scenes are Pinteresque in their almost unbearable intensity while the prisoner’s predicament is a Kafkaesque nightmare. Torture takes its toll on torturer and victim alike - hey, torturers are people too! While Zero Dark Thirty thankfully draws the line at portraying its torturers as fluffy or sensitive, that they are so matter-of-fact about what they’re doing in a just-following-orders sort of way is arguably more chilling than if they were sadists who enjoyed their work.

The “enhanced interrogation” sanctioned by the Bush administration was stopped by Obama on whose watch bin Laden was finally hunted down. The question is, was this the result of torture or a combination of hi-tech surveillance and good old-fashioned legwork? Did the CIA get bin Laden because of torture or despite it? Zero Dark Thirty seems deliberately vague and ambiguous on this point also.

Does torture get results? Is it counter-productive? And is it ever morally justified? Do the ends really justify the means? Or just successful ends? Is torture a necessary evil? Or just evil? These are important questions which aren’t necessarily as black and white as we might like and it’s good that a successful, mainstream Hollywood movie should address them in this way. There’s been a lot of sound and fury generated by Zero Dark Thirty, most of it signifying nothing. But love it or loathe it (sight unseen in some cases) there’s no denying it has fuelled an important debate. And this is good.

So is Zero Dark Thirty a good film? Yes. Does it condone torture? I really don’t know. Does Dirty Harry condone its antihero’s overt fascism? (Well, yes, probably. But that’s beside the point.) While Zero Dark Thirty may well be cynically having its cake and waterboarding it, I do think it lets the audience decide. Or it could just be a cynical cop-out. Who knows?

I’ve always admired Kathryn Bigelow, but much as I enjoy The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty I still prefer her early, funny films. The Hurt Locker was good but not that good and, garlanded with Oscars, it is a bit overrated. It’s been quite the career renaissance though. Following a mid-career slump, Bigelow (who started out as an avant garde New York artist and student of feminist icon, Susan Sontag) has gone from a purveyor of sleek, slyly satirical/subversive action flicks to the doyen of stripped-down, pseudo-documentary war movies - from Jane Cameron to Overly-Earnest Hemmingway.

Shot in Bigelow’s now-signature, hand-held, verite style, Zero Dark Thirty (like The Hurt Locker) is more Paul Greengrass than James Cameron. At least until the nailbiting climax which out-Aliens Aliens. Only this is real. As real as it gets. And the hardware is even more futuristic looking -sci-fi stealth choppers straight out of Area 51, no less. Like Predator without the Little Richard.

This is powerful, even shocking stuff. The unimaginable horror of 9/11 is evoked by a harrowing audio montage of terrified 911 calls over a funereal black screen while the chilling re-staging of 7/7 is uncomfortably close to home. Yet there is still the odd laugh. Some intentional. (“Kinda like Gandalf/Who?”) Some not-so intentional. (All that talk of “Faraj” had me thinking the CIA was after UKIP!)

“You got any friends at all?” Maya (fictional, real or a composite?) is a study of the terrible personal, emotional and physical toll of such a mission. Obsessive? (“I’m the motherfucker who found this place!”) Or just diligently professional? “You’re fucking out of your mind,” she’s told. Possibly, maybe. Although action heroes rarely have their sanity so openly questioned. Another point to Bigelow. Indeed, without Maya’s obsession and occasional emotional outburst (understandable under the circumstances) this would be a very cold film indeed. Jessica Chastain humanises Zero Dark Thirty, especially at the end when, mission accomplished, Maya finally reveals her all-too-human vulnerability. Unsurprisingly for a Kathryn Bigelow film there are prominent roles for women in front of and behind the camera – Jennifer Ehle also excels - which is refreshing in a film like this and distinguishes it from the more testosterone-fuelled Hurt Locker.

The huge cast is uniformally excellent although there are a lot of often distracting star cameos. Mark Strong does his best Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross explosive turn by coming in, banging the table, shouting at everyone then pissing off again. And the thought of John Barrowman (yes, John Barrowman!) alone in a lift with James Gandolfini really doesn’t bear thinking about. Imagine the possibilities. Just two degrees of separation between The Sopranos and The Krankies for a start – FANDABIDOZI!

It is very talky though and there are a lot of middle-aged men in suits. There’s also an awful lot of staring at computer screens. The curse of modern cinema, I’m developing a bit of a twitch about this. Not even 007 is immune to it! And I could have done without the personal revenge subplot as well. But that’s “HUMAN ERROR” for you. (Covering such a long timespan, Zero Dark Thirty is unavoidably episodic. But this is only emphasised by the chapter headings like a book.)

It’ll be interesting to see what effect the passage of time has on Zero Dark Thirty’s reputation. Or how it compares with future films about “The War on Terror” which benefit from hindsight. Whether it condones or condemns, propaganda or not, Zero Dark Thirty is a bold piece of film-making and a remarkable achievement. First drafts of history don’t come more evocative or immediate than this. Or as exciting. Is that so wrong? A tad morally questionable perhaps. But Zero Dark Thirty is anything but jingoistic or triumphalist. It might be flawed,but Rambo this ain’t.


< Message edited by chris kilby -- 28/2/2013 12:57:19 PM >

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 85
"I'm going to smoke everyone involved in this op a... - 26/10/2013 11:22:56 AM   
movienut707

 

Posts: 220
Joined: 19/10/2012
Lengthy, brooding and ineffably thrilling, Zero Dark Thirty stands as one of the single greatest manhunt movies ever made... Jessica Chastain's performance is a work of subtle brilliance.

< Message edited by movienut707 -- 26/10/2013 11:55:28 AM >

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 86
Page:   <<   < prev  1 2 [3]
All Forums >> [Film Forums] >> Film Reviews >> RE: 2 star average user rating vs 5 star Empire rating Page: <<   < prev  1 2 [3]
Jump to:





New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


 
Movie News  |  Empire Blog  |  Movie Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Video Interviews  |  Image Gallery  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Magazine  |  Resources
 
Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI

0.078