So finally got around to watching Zero Dark Thirty, and loved it. It's complex and fascinating and tense and that Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a best director oscar nod - well, that's for another post.
But the main reason I loved it is because of the main character, Maya played by Jessica Chastain. The movie covers the ten year search for Bin Laden, and we see it almost entirely through the eyes of one woman, a CIA analyst, who never even picks up a gun, but does all the tedious, painstaking work of chasing clues to the whereabouts of America's number one enemy.
And the character evolves through the movie, from wide eyed and relatively innocent to hard edged, whose focus is almost the bane of her superiors. It's an utterly fascinating character study, more so, because aside from one short scene, we never see her in anything but a work situation.
At the end of the movie, we know this woman is the force(and I mean that literally, there are some amazing scenes where she hounds her superiors to do something with the leads she has uncovered)behind the search, but we know almost nothing else about her, except that she's single.
We don't know if she has parents, friends, any other interests, although, I suspect not, or any childhood traumas. We don't even know why she has a drive to find Bin Laden, even after every other person she works with has given up, we just know she's stubborn past all reasonableness.
And it's amazing. I'm left with all these questions that I've been answering, inventing a backstory, ideas of where she might be now, and it's why the movie is still fresh in my mind.
And even though the idea of a character without backstory is tempting, it's almost impossible to do in book form with your main protagonist, but really fun to think about with secondary characters, whose character is revealed entirely but what they do, and not what they've done.
I'm trying to think of an example and nothing comes to mind, but it's something I want to play with a little bit.
Has anyone else seen the movie? Maya is my favourite character of the year by far.