Soon after the Al Qaeda attacks of 11th September 2001, Maya (played by Jessica Chastain) is fresh out of agency training – she’s a brand new CIA operative but she’s smart and she’s keen. For her first assignment, she is posted to Islamabad, Pakistan, right into the midst of investigations to find terror suspects. She observes the prisoner interrogations with alarm but she slowly develops a steely resolve that the way to infiltrate the enemy and find the truth is to be better, faster, stronger and tougher. She conducts a focused and meticulous investigation over several years, leaving no stone unturned and no detail unclear. Her work overtakes her life and she is obsessed with finding the one man she holds responsible for so much … Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, when it seems as though she is the only one who is still on his trail, in 2011 there are signs that her single-handed work might lead to something. Maya must do everything she can to convince the CIA executives that she’s a credible agent, that it’s really him and that he’s “gettable” … a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent in to find out if Bin Laden’s really there ….
This is a gripping movie – shot to demonstrate the utter violence, drama, tension and chaos that can feature in any conflict situation. Perhaps a little bit long, but still the story is important and the length of the movie demonstrates the painstaking, risky and high stakes investigation that took ten years and involved many lives before it came to fruition. The story tells itself – but you should stick with it for the first half hour or so, after that you will be enthralled and want to keep watching. I was delighted to see Joel Edgerton with a small but significant role in this, he’s well known in Australian movies but is still making his name elsewhere. James Gandolfini makes another important contribution in his role as the CIA Director (he looks a lot like Dick Cheney to me – but I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not) and generally the cast is strong and performs well. Jennifer Ehle isn’t seen nearly enough in movies – she is good here. In the 2012 Academy (Oscar) Awards, Jessica Chastain was nominated as Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance and the movie won the award for Sound Editing. I think it may only appeal to a segment of the audience though. Kathryn Bigelow has excelled here, her directorship is masterful. Overall, yes it’s very good.
Made in 2012. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow