Get a First Look at Osama Bin Laden Manhunt Movie Zero Dark Thirty

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 6 2012 3:59 PM

Zero Dark Thirty Teaser Hints at New Take on Bin Laden Hunt

Kyle Chandler stars in Zero Dark Thirty
Kyle Chandler stars in Zero Dark Thirty.

Still from the trailer for Zero Dark Thirty.

Teasers trailers are always supposed to engage in a bit of obfuscation, but the first teaser for Zero Dark Thirty takes obfuscation as its subject. Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the team behind The Hurt Locker, based the film on their own investigations into the hunt for Osama bin Laden (Boal is also a journalist), and the Pentagon is investigating whether the filmmakers were given inappropriate access to classified material for the movie.  (The Obama administration denies that allegation, but the evidence has been enough for some to label the movie as “propaganda.”)

The trailer leans hard on that angle, promising that it will tell the truth behind “The Story You Think You Know,” and obscuring everything in sight with photonegatives, pixilation, American flag silhouettes, and black marker. In the full movie, the trailer implies, all will be revealed, but for now we’re just giving you this sealed folder.

It’s a familiar trailer trope—see the teaser for The Bourne Legacy, or the more successful trailer for declassified drama Argo—but so far here it’s rather annoying. The only face we glimpse long enough to actually recognize belongs to Kyle Chandler (that’s Coach Taylor, to Friday Night Lights fans), and I’m still not sure who he plays. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Ehle also flash by, but so quickly I had to watch a second time to realize that they were two different actors. Talented actors Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Edgar Ramirez (Carlos), and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) also star. As whom? Who knows. I still have the highest hopes for Zero Dark Thirty—I just can’t wait until we get to see a little more of it.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.