Zero Dark Thirty
A “film of two halves”.
The first section – setting up the background, justifying the mindsets and actions taken, establishing the characters – was, for me at least, too episodic: This Happened, then This Happened, and then This, and … yes, OK, we can see why you want to get the bad men. And yet in reality, little of this exposition was actually relevant to the plot.
The action sequence which depicts the final showdown, however, was film making of the highest quality. Filmed in low light, there is never any doubt as to what’s happening,and it’s exquisitely portrayed.
But the disadvantage of not really ‘getting’ the characters in the first movement left me with little connection ot Jessica Chastain in the final scene.
And no, in my opinion, there is no glorification of torture. It’s there, yes, and presented as ‘this is what happens’. I’d say this is the essence of the controversy – not that it’s glorified, but that it’s acknowledged on screen as happening in the first place. Which is more than the American president could do.