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Wednesday, May 1, 2013: Manhunt

by admin May 1, 2013 8:00 am
Wednesday, May 1, 2013: Manhunt

Contrary to what Zero Dark Thirty taught us, Jessica Chastain didn't capture Osama bin Laden on her lonesome. Instead, it took an entire team of CIA operatives -- who had already spent ten years prior to 9/11 keeping tabs on the Al-Qaeda frontman -- to track him down from the mountains of Afghanistan to a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That search takes center stage in the documentary Manhunt, which premieres tonight on HBO after debuting at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Based on the bestselling book of the same name by Peter Bergen (who actually landed an on-camera interview with bin Laden in the late '90s) and directed by regular Frontline contributor Greg Barker, Manhunt features new interviews with members of "The Sisterhood" -- the female CIA agents who first recognized the threat posed by Al Qaeda as well as a host of other analysts and operatives. Compared to Zero Dark Thirty, Manhunt certainly provides a more complete picture of the effort that went into finding bin Laden and touches on complexities that Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal chose to skim over in favor of a more streamlined narrative. On the other hand, ZD30 is more visceral and immediate without reducing the investigation to a simplistic cat-and-mouse game. (Obviously, Manhunt also lacks the killer compound raid that Bigelow stages for the climax of her film.) Ideally, the two movies should be seen together -- one as the introduction to the one of contemporary history's most fascinating manhunts and the other as the graduate-level course.

Manhunt airs on HBO at 8 PM, opposite new episodes of Arrow on The CW and Survivor: Caramoan on CBS. 10 PM brings new episodes of Nashville on ABC and a re-airing of Game of Thrones's most excellent fight episode on HBO.

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