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January 17, 2013

Notes on "Zero Dark Thirty"

Yesterday I made a rare foray out to the theater to watch this film.

By rare I mean I can't remember the last time I actually went to a movie theater as opposed to watching movies on TV at home via Apple TV, with fantastically comfortable seating, great food, perfect projection and sound, and the ability to stop watching for any reason at any time and come back later that night or tomorrow if I so choose.

I might not have gone to a single film all last year, that's how long it's been.

The negative externalities of today's moviegoing experience are just too numerous and soul-sapping for me to overcome and take the time and trouble to make the trip.

Plus, at home I get lagniappe in the form of Gray Cat napping on my lap throughout, a delight whose pleasure simply cannot be overstated.

No matter: I went to the cinema for several reasons:

1. I wanted to see this movie while it was still in active release and the national conversation.

2. I hadn't yet visited the new Stonefield Mall, which turns out to be only 2.3 miles from my house according to the odometer.

3. Sometimes it's good to shake things up.

I've read all the reviews and have heard from a couple people I know about their own impressions, which were that the movie was just too tedious — and in one case soporific — until the final climactic raid.

I thought just the opposite.

I found the first couple hours of analysis, laying the foundation for the final assault, utterly compelling.


Jessica Chastain gets my Oscar vote — doesn't matter who else is in the running.

As I drove home from the theater, the thought occurred to me I know three people who share many of the traits of Maya, the CIA analyst at the heart of the film.

All three are women: one is in her fifties, one in her thirties, and one in her late twenties.

The former two live in my Podunk town and the latter grew up here before heading north for school and profession.

Is it just chance that no man I know combines, as do these three remarkable women, 1. unflinching resolve; 2. the ability to stay with a deadening, beyond boring task through endless tedium while maintaining the very highest attention; 3. a kind of borderline scary/crazy intensity when focused on something; 4. an unwillingness to let go no matter what; 5. a kind of personal shyness and preference not to call attention to themselves?


Perhaps not.

The three of you know who you are; everyone else, please move along, nothing to see here. 

January 17, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink


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I'll wait for the book. The one based on reality; preferably, quoting testimony elicited under oath by experienced counsel.

I live too close for the magic of Hollywood to have much effect.

The last film that I saw in a theater was Serenity.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jan 18, 2013 12:34:14 AM

The trailer looks really good Joe, I don't go out to movies for no reason but it is time to do this with the courage thus instilled in me by you. This, then Lincoln. If alone, so be it.

Posted by: friskypainter | Jan 17, 2013 11:34:50 PM

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