That Nerdy DC Movie, Zero Dark Thirty
On Sunday in a packed sold out Georgetown Movie Theater I was joined by other members of the DC public in watching Zero Dark Thirty, the movie that depicted the decade hunt / execution of Osama bin Laden (OBL on the streets). Many people will want to discuss if this movie “promotes” torture or debate if enhance interrogation was what lead to the killing of OBL but honestly in my opinion that was a very small part of the movie. If you’re going to go see this movie expecting to see two hours of Seal Team Six training to kill OBL or your typical Hollywood glamorized version of the Bourne franchise then you’ll be in for a rude awakening. This is a movie where on the surface nothing really goes on but a bunch of Nerdy CIA analysts (better looking of course than real life analyst) sit around sort through data, interrogate and watch previous interrogation tapes, listen to phone calls and bribe low level terrorist informants to put together the pieces that would lead to the take down of OBL.
Essentially this is a movie for DC Nerds and that’s the point. This movie was more about the man hours and work that goes into intelligence gathering, the following different leads and dead ends that arise daily during the last ten years and the toll it takes on the men and women behind it. The movie was more or less about intelligence tradecraft.
Even though the movie takes place in different countries and around the world this was a VERY DC movie. I wasn’t surprised to hear the name of an agency my last three companies supported in some form or another. Suddenly you’re transformed into that world by association. You work on a contract but you only get a piece of the information, you have no clue what the guy in the room next to you with a different color badge is doing. You know that neighbor that leaves for work before dawn and doesn’t get back till late at night. Or his wife who goes on business trips around the world but never talks about what she does. There are buildings that exists in DC and parts of Northern Virginia (and all over the world) that don’t show up on google maps. You’ve accidently taken a wrong turn and driven into the parking area where the building windows are all black, the cars are all white and unmarked and men with machine guns look at you funny before you turn around fast as shit. Everyone knows someone who knows someone whose company was responsible for the satellite upkeep and was on call that night. The more you think about it the more you realize how many people if they knew it or not had something to do with the hunting and killing of OBL. This movie was a head nod to those people.
But again living in DC these people aren’t nearly as attractive as Hollywood would lead you to believe. These are the nerdy betas that are socially awkward and have problems talking to girls or being part of a conversation at house parties. The ball busting feminists you meet out at bars but then complain that there are no good men out there but she just rejected five guys in a row for not being tall enough. Take for instance Jessica Chastain playing the main character of Maya perfectly. This woman is a hard 6 at best and even by Hollywood standards is not sexy. Seriously please check out her British GQ spread and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Jesus what a debacle. There’s a moment when she’s arguing with a superior to get more men for the surveillance OBL’s messengers and he tells her no. Suddenly she screams at him and threatens to report him and bring him up on charges if he doesn’t do what she wants, essentially blackmailing him. The next guy that takes his place essentially let’s her know he knows better than to say no to her when she makes a request. What’s fucked up is that’s how the average DC girl is. That scene alone made the movie a DC flick.
Again this movie isn’t for everyone. It reminded me why shows like AMC’s one season Rubicon did not work (I fucking loved that show). It’s about sifting through data, looking for patterns in randomness and who the fuck wants to do that shit. Just get one of the nerds to do it for you unless you’re about that life. If you think the movie is long at close to 3 hours, please think about the real man hours it went into avenging the 3,000 families who lost loved one on September 11th.