Zero Dark Thirty Reviews

From director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the team that brought you “The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty” — military jargon for 30 minutes after midnight — is as relentless and committed to its convictions and presentation as its main protagonist Maya (played by Jessica Chastain with firebrand passion), a CIA intelligence agent unremittingly driven by her pursuit of Bin Laden. The film slowly coils with an absorbing intensity. For better or worse, Bigelow extracts the details with myopic, laser precision until her characters find clues, inklings and suppositions to inform their argument concerning the whereabouts of the “world’s most dangerous man.”

(…)As far as awards go, (because at this point in the season it has to be discussed), “Zero Dark Thirty” could easily grab Best Directing and Picture nominations – Bigelow deftly impresses with her ability to compress events and tell a multifaceted tale without it ever feeling shortchanged – but whether the picture can grab the top slot remains to be seen, as it won’t be as user-friendly as “Les Misérables” or “Life of Pi” – both more emotionally engaging pictures. / Indiewire

Kathryn Bigelow’s and Mark Boal’s “Hurt Locker” followup tells the story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and stars Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke.

Whether you call it well-informed speculative history, docudrama re-creation or very stripped-down suspense filmmaking, Zero Dark Thirty matches form and content to pretty terrific ends. A long-arc account of the search for Osama bin Laden seen from the perspective of an almost insanely focused female CIA officer who never gives up the hunt until the prey ends up in a body bag, Kathryn Bigelow’s and Mark Boal’s heavily researched successor to Oscar winner The Hurt Locker will be tough for some viewers to take, not only for its early scenes of torture, including waterboarding, but due to its denial of conventional emotionalism and non-gung ho approach to cathartic revenge-taking. Films touching on 9/11, such as United 93, World Trade Center and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, have proved commercially toxic, and while this one has a “happy” ending, its rigorous, unsparing approach will inspire genuine enthusiasm among the serious, hardcore film crowd more than with the wider public. Hollywood Reporter

Running a dense two hours thirty, before credits, “Zero Dark Thirty” reunites director Kathryn Bigelow with reporter-turned-scenarist Mark Boal in re-creating the hunt for Osama bin Laden, rejecting nearly every cliche one might expect from a Hollywood treatment of the subject. Far more ambitious than “The Hurt Locker,” yet nowhere near so tripwire-tense, this procedure-driven, decade-spanning docudrama nevertheless rivets for most of its running time by focusing on how one female CIA agent with a far-out hunch was instrumental in bringing down America’s most wanted fugitive. Spinning the pic as a thriller, Sony could beat the 9/11-movie curse when the Dec. 19 limited release goes wide in January. Variety

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