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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Thank you IMDb
Knowing this movie was nominated for best picture, I was afraid that I was losing my mind after seeing it, since what I saw in the theater was: one dimensional characters being frustrated about not being able to do anything, inter-cut with a newsreel about current events, followed a ridiculously overdone operation to kill a couple people in a house.
No doubt this is a difficult story to tell dramatically, since it's about people who are doing a job that is passive by nature. But what was striking is how completely devoid it was of character. Courtroom dramas trade in the same stock, but even the most pedestrian episode of Boston Legal or LA Law contain more compelling characters than anyone in this movie.
And most movies about real events overcome the inherent story problems by provoking thought in the audience about the events themselves. What they lack in dramatic momentum, they make up for in unsettling questions. But it was amazing how completely empty this film was of anything resembling a question about what was going on. It was as if Kathryn Bigelow thought she was just "presenting reality" to the audience.
In 50 years, people are going to look back at this movie in the same way that we look at the jingoistic WWII Hollywood features now - as empty fare designed to prop up our fragile national psyche. Maybe that's what people need right now. But let's not pretend it's a quality film.