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« NYFF: "Amour" & "No" Are Worthy Oscar Contenders | Main | LFF: Black Rock »
Saturday
Oct132012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Time and the finite nature of it is an essential ingredient in all suspense films. So I need to get myself on the clock when it comes to Zero Dark Thirty. I was shocked at how quickly we knew of its existence post Hurt Locker but then... it never seemed to come. It still feels like something off in the very distant future set in the very recent past. But it actually opens in 66 days. Tick tock.

Let's break down the trailer...

YES

  • At the very least it'll make an interesting comparison point to Showtime's "Homeland".
  • Jessica Chastain gets her first high profile lead role!
  • Joel Edgerton
  • That hot soldier with the glow stick
  • I've been with director Kathryn Bigelow since Near Dark and I'm not going anywhere. I tend to love her work. And even when I don't, it's interesting.
  • It looks far more beautiful, visually, than The Hurt Locker... which wasn't really going for beauty but there's so many frameable stills in the trailer and a rangier color palette. In short: I'm glad it's not Hurt Locker 2. As much as I love The Hurt Locker it requires no sequel.

    MORE AFTER THE JUMP

     
  • Very strong trailer structurally with the threatening implied two hander opening scene and the open-ended group cliffhanger with night vision. We know how the mission turns out of course but the details... the details. This is what trailers should do: suggest, tease, leave you wanting more. 

NO

  • The Hurt Locker did a fine job of being non-partisan. It had plenty to say about war as a drug -- which I'd argue is a right wing problem -- but it wasn't pointing any fingers or explicit about politics in anyway. Can this film tread that line as well? All the flags in this trailer worry me.
  • I don't relish people complaining that Jessica Chastain < Claire Danes on "Homeland" but you know that simplistic comparison is coming based simply on Smart Woman + Terrorists + Theories . TV and Movies have different strengths and the best TV shows have a lot more time to develop their central characters. 

MAYBE SO

  • Given that we know the ending how exciting will the climactic Bin Laden attack be? And can Bigelow make it exciting without indulging in the war as drug audience bloodthirst problem.
  • The opening scene is chilling but you never know the way these things play out. So many American movies and television series seem to implicitly condone torture and I sure hope that isn't the case here. Bigelow is better than that! I hope.

Are you a Yes No or Maybe So? And how much of your answer is based on your feelings about The Hurt Locker?  

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Reader Comments (23)

The hot guy with the glowstick is Lady Gaga's boyfriend! I forget his name. She posted the trailer on her Twitter, which made me happy. As long as that means that more people will see Kathryn Bigelow movies, it's all good.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstella

It's a very strong, atmospheric trailer, and Chastain is gorgeous in this. But why doesn't she speak?!? Imperiousness should be lucky to have a voice like hers!

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Mr Glowstick is Taylor Kinney

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

If I had any doubts about Jessica Chastain's Oscar chances this year, the trailer just put her in my 5 nominees. The Best Leading Actress race is so strange, but so interesting at the same time and I believe Chastain will steal Knightley's place, since people will want to recognize a veteran (my bet is Mirren, at the moment), a young beauty (Lawrence), a child (Wallis), the foreign actress with an enviable career in Hollywood (Cotillard) and the actress who "Meryl Streeped" last year who got her first leading role in an high profile movie (Chastain)

So far, my "predictions"

1. Jennifer Lawrence for "The Silver Lining Playbook"
2. Helen Mirren for "Hitchcock"
3. Quvenzhané Wallis for "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
4. Marion Cotillard for "Rust & Bone"
5. Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty"

6. Keira Knightley for "Anna Karenina"
7. Emanuelle Riva for "Amour"
8. Mary Elizabeth Winstead for "Smashed"
9. Meryl Streep for "Hope Springs"
10. Maggie Smith for "Quartet"

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Jessica's character probably has an accent that they are trying to keep secret.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

The trailer gave me chills and I wanted more. Its cool that Chastain doesn't speak at all. She will when you buy that ticket and enters the theatre. Amen

Im not worried about the flag thing because the entire world knows its an American propaganda movie. But maybe it is a problem for the Americans?

Bigelow kicks ass. I hope that in the future will we have more female directors showing the world how different and cool the female perspective of violence, power and struggle can be. Amen x 2

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

What I love most about this trailer is that Taste of Cherry's Homayoun Ershadi is in it and I had NO idea since he literally was listed nowhere on the cast information of the film.
It will be a token Middle Eastern hostage type role but I'm sure he'll find a way to make even that interesting.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I'd watch anything with Jessica Chastain, but then, who wouldn't?

And that film obviously has the potential to send shock-waves across the Best Actress/Supporting Actress/Director/Picture predictions

and it will be great if it does, it will be great if the year continues to surprise us until the very end.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

She can't be dead. Jessica Chastain cannot be dead. I don't her spirit I want her and you murdered her.

If Chastain enters the Actress race she's who I'll root for.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

She can't be dead. Jessica Chastain cannot be dead. I don't her spirit I want her and you murdered her.

Jessica Chastain: (2012) Actress

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

Trailer looks great (why don't you embed!?! or link?). Looks like a great thriller/action film that I'll love. Doesn't look like bait, but who cares. Hurt Locker didn't scream bait either. But then, should we expect lightning (= academy going for quality over bait) to strike twice?

And I do beleive the Danes comparison will hurt Chastain, if it keeps being made, because lets face it Danes is amazing on Homeland and, based on this trailer, Chastain's role won't be nearly as meaty and/or showy.

With that said, the supporting cast looks killer. I didn't know Gandolfini, the actor from Carlos, and the actor from HBO's Brotherhood were in this. I'm officially excited.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranon

I think the trailer was great!! I saw the teaser trailar back in August which didn't give us much but I really love Jessica Chastain! I enjoed her in the movie The Help I'm look forward to this move (( if I can find soneone to go with me))but what is with the America flags?I mean come on Kathryn Bigelow your American why is the flag only half showing in the trailer? It's a American take down of bin Laden it was a great take down too. I hope this movie dose well I would hate to see Kathryn Bigelow work go down the drain after her great work on the Hurt Locker.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

I would rather she keep it politically ambiguous, just like she did with The Hurt Locker. I think if anybody can show both sides, not as heroes and villains but as people doing their jobs, it's Bigelow. I would hate for this event to be seen as a great American heroic moment, but a moment that pays tribute to the people doing their jobs. That's what made The Hurt Locker so good.

Also, I'm loving the cast! Did you notice Kyle Chandler is in this too (he doesn't speak, but I did see his face for one frame)? Also, Chris Pratt (Andy from Parks and Recreation) has a scene. He could go either way, he could be used as comic relief or actually being given something meaty, which I know he can handle (If you've ever seen Everwood, Pratt had some amazing dramatic material on that show and killed it, and he was also pretty good in Moneyball, even if his character was under-developed). I also love the thriller aspect of this film and I think it will be pretty amazing. Kudos to Bigelow for choosing such an ambitious post-Oscar project.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

This was a pretty kickass trailer. I have a weakness for montages of action scenes interspersed with important people striding gravely (you werqit, Kyle Chandler) and warnings being issued in ominous tones ("You will never find him. He's one of the disappeared ones.') Having Jessica Chastain not speak in the trailer is a pretty interesting choice, isn't it? Some people may find it unnecessarily vague but it really did amp up my anticipation for her role in the movie.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

reading through *your* yes no maybe sos has added multiple "yes"es to my mind.

October 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yes! I like the way Bigelow is so skilled with action and chooses such interesting actors. The actor's seem so crisp and fresh on the screen. I'm so curious about how each of the parts will be played.
No nos, no maybe sos.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I am a definite 'yes.' The trailer is intriguing and I'm curious as to how Bigelow follows up the Hurt Locker.

The cast looks amazing, and yay, Joel Edgerton! If her role is big enough - and from the trailer, it certainly looks like it - Jessica Chastain can be the last minute entry into the Best Actress race. If so, she can certainly challenge Lawrence for the win. Actually, if Chastain is nominated for best actress, I think it will come down to her and Lawrence, with them being the two favorite front runners.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlinking Cursor

Very cool cast and I'm glad Edgar Ramirez appears also in the trailer, meaning that (maybe) he has a substantial supporting role...

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

we are so happy to see homayoun ershadi in the trailer. would love to see more of him in the near future. cool handsome and talented.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermahnaz shakeri

I agree with many post - maybe Chastain is the 11th. contender for the Best Actress category and could be Lawrence's biggest threat. So I need to change my predictions for Best Actress:

01. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
02. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
03. Marion Cotillard - Rust & Bone - I changed my mind after the results in New York and London Film Festivals. She's making campaign and she's working hard for that
04. Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
05. Helen MIrren - Hitchcock
---------------------------------------------------------------
06. Naomi Watts - The Impossible
07. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
08. Judi Dench - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
09. Meryl Streep - Hope Springs
10. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed

Also, I would love to see Edgar Ramirez in the Oscar race - He's talented enough and he's a hot Latin lover ;P - Imagine him on the red carpet

01. Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained - The recent news gave me confidence
02. Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
03. Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
04. Robert DeNiro - Silver Linings Playbook
05. Edgar Ramirez - Zero Dark Thirty
-------------------------------------------------------
06. Ewan McGregor - The Impossible
07. Russell Crowe - Les Misérables
08. Alan Arkin - Argo
09. Matthew McConaughey
10. Eddie Redmayne - Les Misérables

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Looks good! I love the way it subverts the "post title joke" thing that's so tired in comedy trailers (which you yourself have pointed up many times). That silent night vision bit makes me hope for some near "Rififi" level silent sequence until somebody shoots.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn (the other one)

But isn't this classified information? Will Bigelow wind up in a millitary prison like Bradley Manning? Oh wait no...this is propaganda work she's doing for the government so it should all be okay.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrobo

The trailer TOTALLY plays. I was not on the Hurt Locker love train (I liked it well enough but didn't FLOVE it like so many seemed to), so my response to Zero Dark Thirty has always been a bit muted. But this trailer makes it look like a damn good espionage thriller, with a great cast full of actors I love. And that shot of Jessica Chastain in front of the framed flag is gorgeous.

I get the Homeland comparisons, I really do, but I think this will either live or die on comparisons to a movie that just opened this weekend: Ben Affleck's Argo. Both are political/spy thrillers about very important moments in U.S./world history, by respected directors with great casts. I really think that how it plays in comparison to Argo will make or break it in the Oscar race, especially since Argo is considered a heavy frontrunner right now.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny
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