This movie depicts a real life situation without pulling punches and I think it aims to be a little more factual than 42, which I saw recently. They’re both great movies though. They share a common effort to depict American heroes in a manner that is truthful and moving at the same time.
After watching 42 it’s clear how important Robinson/Rickey/Smith were to the very fabric of America. It was sports, but they broke a distinct barrier that helped change this country for the better. That’s pretty tangible, even disregarding the dramatic license that Disney used.
Zero Dark Thirty has a different type of hero, it’s Maya, a CIA analyst who doggedly pursues an enemy of the state after 9/11. Maya did important stuff with the as much zeal as the aforementioned trio, under duress, feeling intense pressure, with her life constantly threatened (more acutely than Robinson’s was threatened), but it’s a little more difficult to label it with a fitting phrase. We’re safer and better prepared to fend off terrorists, but that’s not as tangible as “integrating America’s pastime”. One could be inspired by the feeling of vengeance achieved by killing an enemy of the United States, but that too is hard to grasp.
I think Maya and Jackie Robinson are both heroes, but Tim Brando may disagree with me on the Robinson front.
Maya is a fictional character, but the general assumption is that she’s representative of many determined women working for the CIA who’ve made protecting the people of this country their sole mission in life. See more in the IMDB FAQ, especially the last one. She’s a public servant, probably making a fraction of what she could in the private sector, so she’s giving up a lot for the thankless job of searching for this enemy of the state. And though she was successful, she probably didn’t get a bonus.
That’s how it works for certain heroes. Some get rewarded for their heroism with money and fame and others go back to work saving the world. That’s why this is emotional. Some government employee sacrificed a lot for our security and probably didn’t get anything for it but a sense of pride and “job well done” from their boss. Well, Maya and her kind have my respect and admiration, if that matters. They’re inspirational to me, if that matters. Seems like they deserve more though. But maybe that’s part of the real definition of hero, they undertake these heroic deeds without concern for personal gain, not needing more.