Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #73: Zero Dark Thirty

This is obviously the newest movie on the list and will also be the most recently watched movie on the list. I had said when I started the list that it was solidified, and that no new entries would be added, but would rather be interspersed throughout the list as I saw new wonderful movie scenes. Unfortunately, one of the scenes I had picked wasn't quite as great on another review as I had thought it was, so I took it out and replaced it with this.

Zero Dark Thirty is not an 'entertaining' movie, per se. There's a space between 'respectable' (which implies that I didn't actually like it) and 'entertaining' (which it is and isn't, it's hard to be entertained by a lot of the stuff on the screen, and even the coda, while intense and attention grabbing, has sobering moments that don't fall under the realm of cheap entertainment).

It's engrossing and thought provoking, and the raid in the last hour or so is every bit as good as it's been made out to be.

But that's not the scene that I picked.

"Where Do You Wanna Go?"

By the time we get to the epic raid that constitutes a large portion of the last hour of Zero Dark Thirty, the protagonist Maya has dedicated a (un)healthy chunk of her adult life to finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. She's been absolutely steadfast in her attempts to track him down, to the peril of her social and mental well being. Friends have died and moved on. Leads have shown themselves, only to disappear into nothing. She's tracked dead end after dead end with nothing but the tenacity to keep going, knowing that she will prevail.

Then she does.

The raid is a success, she gazes upon the lifeless body of her longtime quarry and gives a simple nod. Yep, that's him. He's dead. Game over. She gets on a plane alone, the pilot asks her where she wants to go, and she has no answer. Instead, she huddles in a corner and silently weeps. End movie.

One of the best things Zero Dark Thirty does is to take a known ending (Osama dies) and makes it almost completely about the journey. This is obvious - what are most movies but journeys to a fairly foreseen conclusion - but by focusing on Maya and her determination, it makes even this great victory seem like another dead lead. She knows the sacrifice that went into the hunt, how many lives (and, it's certainly worth noting, how many souls) were destroyed to get them to where they needed to be. The victory is there, but now what?

Sadly, this scene is new enough to where it doesn't appear to be on YouTube or any other likely suspect website yet, so... watch the movie sometime and see for yourself.

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