Zero Dark Thirty: very bad rom-com

I saw Zero Dark Thirty last night. Not on my own- with some friends. And some pizza. Well, lots of pizza and a few friends. Zero Dark Thirty is the follow-up to The Hurt Locker, which I loved. I liked that movie so much, in fact, that I began to refer to almost anything irritating as ‘the hurt locker’. I’m pretty sure that this is precisely what Bigelow wanted, when she made the movie, and therefore simultaneously began to refer to myself as ‘Bigelow’s biggest fan’. (I found this a particularly funny sentence, so often laughed half-way through it. It is possible that between my re-appropriating of the title of her movie, and the inappropriate sniggering when saying her name, I very nearly cost Bigelow her Oscar, but what else are fans for?)

I had heard only good things about Zero Dark Thirty, and was happy to watch it, although I usually try to avoid movies where I already know the ending. Zero Dark Thirty is long. I checked this morning, and in actual, real-world time, it isn’t excessively long (unlike Les Mis- you bladder-destroying monster), but it feels long. Possibly, this is because it details a search that took 10 years to complete, but I personally think it is because the lead character, who is impossibly beautiful, committed and intelligent, does not have sex at any point during the movie.

Now, I did not sit down to watch a re-telling of the harrowing events leading to the capture of Bin Laden hoping to see some artfully shot soft porn. But I did feel it was a little rum that this poor woman, who has been in the CIA since she left college (see, I was paying attention), and spent most of her time witnessing some of the most unpleasant things, who was thwarted at every turn by her male bosses or inefficient filing, was not allowed to have any sex.

‘She does have sex,’ My friend assured me. ‘With the soldiers who come over to Pakistan. We just don’t see it.’ ‘I’m not sure you’re right,’ I replied sadly. ‘For a start, what are you talking about? And for seconds, we see exactly what she does- she sits at her desk, frustrated; she goes to meetings and is spoken over; she puts up with being ignored until she can’t anymore, and shouts for a few seconds to get what she wants. She is right, and at the end she is proved to be right, and loses her job. This really is the bleakest movie I have ever seen.’

‘I’m not sure you’ve really understood this movie,’ My friend replied slowly. ‘I have understood this movie perfectly,’ I replied huffily. ‘And I’m just sorry that you don’t care more about the well-being of our lead character.’ I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it- but at the end, the lead is crying. Alone. Zero Dark Thirty is the worst rom-com I have ever seen.

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