Let me just say right off the bat, this is the longest movie ever! The running time is nearly three hours as it stands but the movie doesn’t help itself as it’s so slow to get anywhere or do anything that it can feel like double that.
My main problem with the film is, much like the subject writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow have filmed, we have no idea how much is real, how much is made up and how much is artistic licence. Frankly that annoys me.
You know what the story is about but was it a woman CIA agent that relentlessly tracked Bin Laden down and found him? We don’t know. Was torture used? Very likely but we don’t know the exact types for sure. Did a helicopter crash during the operation? We don’t know that either. Or maybe we do but I haven’t heard.
And, for me, this is the problem with the film, not the lack of character development, not the ‘why should we care about this person or that person, not why does John Barrowman turn up randomly, say a couple of lines and then vanish again.
No, the problem for me is that to make a film about an operation that is shrouded in secrecy, for whatever reason, and then not say how you got the information to make the film. To not come out and say how much artistic licence you took, means the movie has zero credibility in my eyes.
A lot of the film reminded me of the recent Channel 4 TV show Homeland, which I have to be honest is a lot better. I really, really liked Bigelow’s last film The Hurt Locker; for me there was a lot more tension, a lot more drama, watch that instead, or Jarhead, or Full Metal Jacket, but this can safely be down on your list.