7:00 PM, 20th April, 2013
The greatest manhunt in history. Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, beginning in 2001 with the September 11 attacks and ending in 2011 with his death at the hands of Navy SEAL Team Six. (Sorry, spoiler alert!)
Maya (Chastain) is a CIA targeter involved in the manhunt. But while the rest of the CIA is digging through caves and looking for holes in the desert, Maya is working on her unpopular theory that their target is hiding in plain sight. Fighting against those around her she eventually convinces them that a compound in Pakistan is worthy of a military invasion – of course we know she’s right, and the SEALs are sent in to catch their prey…
In other hands this could have been a macho, flag-waving, chest-pounding film reminiscent of Team America: World Police. But it most certainly is not that – the writer-director team of war journalist Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow, a team which previously brought us The Hurt Locker, gives us much more. The surface triumph is underscored by deeper themes – the morality of torture, the value of expending so much effort to remove one man, the toll of war on those involved in it and how they cope with what they’ve seen, felt and lost. Chastain is brilliant as the heart of the film, and in the end watching her internal journey is far more interesting than following the events depicted.
9:52 PM, 20th April, 2013
In a future where much of the planet has been devastated, society has moved into colossal mega-cities. Millions of people living on top of one another where law and order is maintained by Judges – sophisticatedly armed folks who act as judge, jury and executioner on the spot. The toughest of the lot is Judge Joe Dredd (Urban). We follow Dredd on a typical day on the beat as he assesses a potential rookie Judge, Judge Anderson (Thirlby) while investigating drug dealing in a mega-skyrise. When the pair unearth the main lab for a designer drug, Slo-Mo, the building is locked down by gang leader Ma-Ma (Headey) and the pair of Judges find themselves having to battle their way towards Ma-Ma to put a stop to her operation once and for all.
Iconic British comic star Judge Dredd has been a top seller in his homeland for decades, for both “2000 AD” and his own titular series. Known for his twisted black humour, a trademark of creator John Wagner (best known to film buffs as the guy who wrote A History of Violence), and grey (albeit posing as very black-and-white) socio-political commentary, Dredd was a prime candidate for the film treatment. Alas, nearly 20 years ago Sylvester Stallone at the height of his mid-90s downward slide managed to strip away everything great about the Dredd universe and turn the property into one of the most notorious flops of that decade. 17 years later the property has finally found its way into the hands of true fans, mainly Alex Garland of 28 Days Later fame, who have turned it into what was probably the best commercial action flick of 2012.