The assassination of Osama Bin Laden was one of the defining events of this decade and now nearly two years after the event, the film versions begin to come in. The one you’ve probably heard of is Zero Dark Thirty; directed by Academy Award Winner Katherine Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). I haven’t seen the film yet, but imagine it’s similar to Seal Team Six, but with a bigger budget and an actual marketing campaign. Going into this chronicle of Osama Bin Laden’s death, I expected to either love it or hate it. Much like most of the September 11th movies that have come out in the last 11 years, I was reluctant to watch something where the instincts of the filmmakers would be to pull the story in an artificially patriotic and sentimental direction, rather than presenting the honest events surrounding this story. I was pleasantly surprised.
As I understand, Zero Dark Thirty mostly centers around the intelligence angle of the operation, while this film focuses more on the individual members of the team that raided Bin Laden’s compound. The filmmakers and cast work hard to develop these characters as individuals. We have Stunner (Cam Gigandet), who is the squad leader; Cherry (Anson Mount), who’s an older member of the team and hates taking orders from a younger soldier; and Mule (Xzibit), who is a strong and intimidating presence on the team but with a humanity that comes out in his interactions with the rest of the team and in a scene where he’s talking to his father via webcam. On the intelligence side of things, we have Kathleen Robertson and William Fitcher heading the team responsible for gathering intelligence on Bin Laden and organizing the operation to take him down. Robertson’s performance is really good, as an operative who has become obsessed with finding Bin Laden since the September 11th attack. Her wants are clearly defined and she pursues Bin Laden the only way she can: with her mind.
The film utilizes a variety of styles, including documentary-like interviews with the characters that take place after the raid. We also see first person point of view shots from the individual seals’ helmet cams. These techniques cement for the audience that these events are true and these characters were in actual danger (as if anyone needs reminding of that only two years later).
The only special feature is a standard making of featurette. With all the shaky camera work and desert settings, it’s hard to recommend getting the Blu-ray over the DVD.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.