Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow may have won an Oscar for her Iraq War drama, but that film had plenty of detractors - many of them from within the armed forces community, where claims of Hurt Locker's inauthenticity still echo today.
With her new film, Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow and her Oscar-winning Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal seem to have the opposite problem; there's been controversy regarding the filmmakers' access to sensitive intelligence materials in order to make their film (about the hunt for infamous terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden) as authentic as possible.
This final Zero Dark Thirty trailer commits a similar sin as many recent movie trailers: it shows too much. Having seen the film, I can say with authority that there are several key moments spoiled in this trailer; and in a film whose ending revolves around one of the biggest events the world has seen in the last decade (the death of Bin Laden), spoiling what surprises we do get along the way doesn't seem very wise - or necessary. So far, Zero Dark Thirty is riding a massive awards-season buzz - and given the subject matter, it's doubtful that it will end up being one of those "Oscar bait" films that no one actually goes out to see. We expect a sizable audience is already invested in this movie - so why spoil all the big moments?
On the positive side of things, this final trailer at long last shifts the focus away from the villain of the story and instead "zeroes in" on our protagonist, Maya (Jessica Chastain), the CIA analyst assigned the task of hunting Bin Laden 24/7. Much of ZDT's positive buzz has also been buzz for Chastain's performance - but don't count us surprised: we've been aware of her skills since The Help, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, The Debt and Lawless - all films in which she left a strong impression.
Joining Chastain in the fight against terrorism are a strong cast of actors, including her Lawless co-star Jason Clarke as a more experienced analyst (whose voice-over narration opens the trailer); Jennifer Ehle (Contagion) and Harold Perrineau (Lost) as fellow analyst worker bees; while actors like Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Mark Strong (Kick-Ass), Mark Duplass (The League), Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones), Edgar Ramírez (Wrath of the Titans), Scott Adkins (Expendables 2) and James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) show up now and again as various cogs within "The Agency." Once the film steers towards the much-teased military ops finale, actors like Joel Edgerton (The Thing) and Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) join in the hunt as well.
Zero Dark Thirty will be in limited release on December 19; Full release on January 11, 2013.