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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 919 Ratings

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  1. Jan 14, 2013
    5
    Disappointing. In the rush to get a script out, Mark Boal and the producers never found a strong, coherent story to tell. Instead, there's a torture act, an intelligence-procedural act, and an action act that do not cohere.
  2. Jan 6, 2013
    6
    First of all, I'm always amazed at the number of 10 and 0 reviews. People really need to stop and think about what a 10 and what a 0 implies. Whatever, just my two cents on user reviews. ---- As for the movie, I felt like giving it a 4, but that's mostly because my expectations were let down. I'm not sure what the recent love affair with Kathryn Bigelow is all about? ZDT is far fromFirst of all, I'm always amazed at the number of 10 and 0 reviews. People really need to stop and think about what a 10 and what a 0 implies. Whatever, just my two cents on user reviews. ---- As for the movie, I felt like giving it a 4, but that's mostly because my expectations were let down. I'm not sure what the recent love affair with Kathryn Bigelow is all about? ZDT is far from extraordinary. Everything about this movie (script, acting, direction, cinematography--everything) is smart, faultless, and safe. As such, it's hard to say anything bad about the film, yet, that's exactly why it fails to stand out. It evokes no emotion and little controversy over such a controversial topic--it's moot art. ...now I'll go read the reviews to see why I'm wrong. Expand
  3. Jan 6, 2013
    5
    Zero Dark Thirty is a step down in almost every way from the Hurt Locker. Almost no suspense, a main character that has no depth, and a somewhat slow and sluggish first half. I was hoping the first 2 hours were more like the last 30 minutes.
  4. Dec 26, 2012
    2
    Tedious. Just because something compelling happened in real life doesn't mean it makes for a good movie. For the life of me I can't understand the critical acclaim here. Nothing in this movie feels believable, first and foremost Chastain's performance. She is miscast, shrill, and has no gravitas. I didn't believe for one second she was a "tough" high level CIA analyst. Most performancesTedious. Just because something compelling happened in real life doesn't mean it makes for a good movie. For the life of me I can't understand the critical acclaim here. Nothing in this movie feels believable, first and foremost Chastain's performance. She is miscast, shrill, and has no gravitas. I didn't believe for one second she was a "tough" high level CIA analyst. Most performances in general felt off and even the amazing Kyle Chandler was reduced to cliche. The movie feels cheap and shallow. There is zero character development, everything feels easy, the torture scenes are gratuitous, and then James Gandolfini comes bobbling in as Leon Pannetta? Although Homeland on Showtime has far-fetched plot lines, it is a thousand times more compelling and a million times better acted. Just don't get at all what the fuss is. And almost three hours. Ouch. Expand
  5. Dec 20, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Simply outstanding. Kathryn Bigelow, now that she's made the character-driven Hurt Locker and this phenomenally-paced thriller, has positioned herself as the dramatic chronicler of record in modern American warfare. No, she's not covering this stuff comprehensively, but the dramatic choices she makes, the slices she and her writers have focused on, so effectively tell the story of this era that I was thinking that we're lucky to have her as the credits of ZDT rolled. Chastain, the chameleon, is terrific in the film and will rightly be praised through the awards season. But I want to give special praise to Jason Clarke, who I've appreciated so thoroughly in Brotherhood and The Chicago code - he was an inspired casting choice. The enhanced interrogation sequences are technically no more difficult to watch than similar scenes in other films (most recently Safe House), but Clarke's ability to represent the interrogator's calculated pinballing between brutality and humanity is powerful. It's not a short movie, but I was riveted throughout. My audience gave the film a modest round of applause. I think they were more stunned by what they had just seen than anything else. Expand
  6. Jan 12, 2013
    3
    I went to see this movie last night. The theater was packed. I watched disjointed torture which dehumanized both the prisoner and the one's doing the torture. They painted the Obama administration as soft, so what else is new? They never delved into what makes these CIA agents tick? We watched 7 years leading up to the killing of bin Laden. They never answered why they killed insteadI went to see this movie last night. The theater was packed. I watched disjointed torture which dehumanized both the prisoner and the one's doing the torture. They painted the Obama administration as soft, so what else is new? They never delved into what makes these CIA agents tick? We watched 7 years leading up to the killing of bin Laden. They never answered why they killed instead of captured him nor was there any suspense. I know about as much as what happened then as I do now. The professional critics are out of their mind as no one said a word leaving the theater. As PT Barnum said...There is a sucker born every minute. The subject matter is what attracted us. You learn nothing new. Just a waste of time with the camera jumping all over the place. Yuk! Expand
  7. Dec 21, 2012
    0
    The hollywood sycophants are already drooling all over the movie, hence the ratings. However it is amazing how quickly people forget that the creators betrayed the soldiers they were embedded with, while researching 'The Hurt Locker'. The soldiers portrayed in the movie behaved nothing like real soldiers - the creators claimed artistic license while dishonoring those who were kind enoughThe hollywood sycophants are already drooling all over the movie, hence the ratings. However it is amazing how quickly people forget that the creators betrayed the soldiers they were embedded with, while researching 'The Hurt Locker'. The soldiers portrayed in the movie behaved nothing like real soldiers - the creators claimed artistic license while dishonoring those who were kind enough to allow the civilians an unvarnished view into their world.

    This movie is much the same, again with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal cashing in on the lives of those who give so much, so the rest of us may live out our lives in a safer world. Critics and audiences will rave over this movie because it is "real and gritty" - despite the fact they are lucky enough to know nothing about the world the movie claims to portray. This movie is nothing more than a sycophantic attempt by media liberals to burnish President Obama's image, while cashing in on the hard work and sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. hollywood, Kathryn and Mark should be ashamed. The least they could've done is give an accurate portrayal of what happened.
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  8. Dec 28, 2013
    10
    Zero Dark Thirty is an incredible achievement, and in my mind candidate for best film made so far this decade. It has brought about an important debate, but more significantly it covers ten years of the war on terror in prime fashion. Chastain's Maya, a breathtaking performance of sheer will and determination, is one of the best of modern film acting male or female. Bigelow plays for highZero Dark Thirty is an incredible achievement, and in my mind candidate for best film made so far this decade. It has brought about an important debate, but more significantly it covers ten years of the war on terror in prime fashion. Chastain's Maya, a breathtaking performance of sheer will and determination, is one of the best of modern film acting male or female. Bigelow plays for high realism but she also knows how to create great drama by stretching but never breaking those confines. Every scene belongs for a purpose and never does it feel like one is missing; that in itself is an incredible achievement. Credit her direction, the cast, and the great script by Mark Boal. Expand
  9. Feb 13, 2013
    10
    Gritty stuff. Facts aside, you couldn't pen a script that seethes as much as the true story behind the hunt for Bin Laden. Weaved together are historical boiling points from around the globe that lead to the climactic crescendo of how the went down. The frame of the puzzle is laid in the first half of the film, then as the connections are made the tension builds to whistle-boilingGritty stuff. Facts aside, you couldn't pen a script that seethes as much as the true story behind the hunt for Bin Laden. Weaved together are historical boiling points from around the globe that lead to the climactic crescendo of how the went down. The frame of the puzzle is laid in the first half of the film, then as the connections are made the tension builds to whistle-boiling intensity as the final act begins. You don't need to be an American to realise the impact of the actions contained in the storyline, the direction from Bigelow and the admirable tenacity given over by Chastain grab your attention and build the wholly thrilling journey to an applaud worthy crescendo. Movie of the year! Expand
  10. Mar 8, 2013
    10
    Like Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln, Jessica Chastain was perfect in this film. I was 13 years old when September 11th happened, It was my first glimpse of hatred in this world. For many kids my age we felt our innocence taken away from us on that day. "Who would do such a thing to our country and why?" Was a thought i wrestled with for weeks. For me, Zero Dark Thirty was an insight into theLike Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln, Jessica Chastain was perfect in this film. I was 13 years old when September 11th happened, It was my first glimpse of hatred in this world. For many kids my age we felt our innocence taken away from us on that day. "Who would do such a thing to our country and why?" Was a thought i wrestled with for weeks. For me, Zero Dark Thirty was an insight into the situation that left many of us feeling helpless. The torture in this film brought some controversy to it, Is it saying torture helped? I don't think so. I think that part of the film was used to show the tenderness of Chastain's character. A strong woman living in a world dominated by violence and men. In the end, it was Chastain's never quite attitude and determination to find Americas number one enemy that prevailed. The Raid was very effective. I remember being so into it as if we were really watching OBL coming to his end. Powerful Film. Expand
  11. Apr 9, 2013
    0
    And who is Mia besides a great agent? Who is she as a human character? What’s her backstory? Why is she doing this? Would have been more involved if one of her family members died in the September 11th Attacks or something but the movie won’t go that far because they want to stick to true accounts. The only emotion we see from her other than the eagerness and get Bin Laden is her sadnessAnd who is Mia besides a great agent? Who is she as a human character? What’s her backstory? Why is she doing this? Would have been more involved if one of her family members died in the September 11th Attacks or something but the movie won’t go that far because they want to stick to true accounts. The only emotion we see from her other than the eagerness and get Bin Laden is her sadness when Al Qaeda bombed that CIA base that her partner was at and the tears that come out her eye after she confirmed that it was Bin Laden that was shot. It would be great if there was some interesting backstory. If there was a reason she was doing this that could be shown to make the audience like her more. If we take out the context of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and just look at the story of Maya fighting terrorists and catching a highly sought after terrorist leader, can her story stand on its own legs? Not to me, it can't.

    Maya’s confidence is a big theme in this movie but the consequences of her being wrong is not addressed in a conflicting or dangerous manner.

    Consequences: The possibility of Bin Laden not actually being in the Abbotobad compound was heavily addressed through the uncertainty of most of the characters beside Maya. However, the consequences were not explored! Because this movie is a true account, we know what is going to happen at the end. But why should we care if we are not sure of the consequences of what could happen? In Argo, we know they’re going to escape but there are some minor consequences we hear about: death by execution, foreigners getting caught in the airport, being hung in the streets. Even those consequences were weakly displayed. But what are the consequences if Bin Laden is not in the compound? Whose head will fall? What effect will it have on America? On the President? On Leon Panetta? On the continued activities of the CIA? Why aren’t people getting angry or playing politics on what could happen? Why is there no serious conflict here? What about other consequences? What if the Pakistani air force attacked them? What if the local police or militia did? Most importantly to the story of the movie, what happens to Maya if she is wrong?

    Put Aside The Story of Maya: Did the film producers create the film because they had this unique story about a young, ambitious, female CIA agent who managed to deduce the location of a highly wanted and highly elusive criminal target? Or did they create the film because they wanted to show the steps taken to find and kill Osama Bin Laden? I think the film producers were “sold” on making the film based on the latter whether or not their interest began with the CIA agent story.

    True Accounts: I read the basic Wikipedia summary on a handful of potential consequences and strategies surrounding the raid and these summary items went in so much more depth than the movie did. What if there was a bunker underneath the house? Why did they choose to do a raid instead of bombing? Or instead of a targeted drone strike? What was going on with Obama during this time? Just like in Argo, where we see nothing strategic and deep with Jimmy Carter, we see nothing interesting with President Obama, who is the final decision-maker in this whole process. We see no strategy in how the U.S. would know if the Pakistanis released the fighter jets because they have a deal with the Pakistanis that the jets given to them by the U.S. would be under 24-hour surveillance? What if Osama was wearing a suicide vest? How would they have handled it? What if there were mines on the doors? And these are just little wikipedia summary items that I skimmed. I expect a producer of a film to do highly extensive research and give me all the good stuff. There’s so much reasoning and strategy that is just dropped from this movie.

    Other Ways To Tell The Story: Telling the story from the perspective of many people instead of the CIA agents would have given the movie a lot more depth. It would have been great to see what Obama, Panetta, the Admiral, and the CIA director were going through. How they didn’t want to be wrong. They could have told this story from many different perspectives and many different people. But they chose the story of Maya which is boring to me.
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  12. Jan 15, 2013
    4
    Zero Dark Thirty only proves the ability of Hollywood to conflate its own pompous self importance. The hype around this film is totally unwarranted. The narrative comes off like a flat reading of a history book. Zero Dark Thirty chokes under its own self-importance, and the obvious ego of its sub-par director.
  13. Sep 17, 2013
    0
    Worst movie I have ever wasted money on. I lost all faith in humanity when this garbage won awards and was given positive reviews. I hope no one actually thinks this is close to being realistic.
  14. Jan 21, 2013
    5
    In the end it's just not a well told story. Too long, too many incomprehensible names to make sense of, no suspense, and worst offense of all, you just don't care about anybody. No, I was not in a bad mood, I was looking forward to it as a big fan of Hurt Locker.

    I'm really curious why this movie gets such great reviews, especially from the professional critics. It's just not well
    In the end it's just not a well told story. Too long, too many incomprehensible names to make sense of, no suspense, and worst offense of all, you just don't care about anybody. No, I was not in a bad mood, I was looking forward to it as a big fan of Hurt Locker.

    I'm really curious why this movie gets such great reviews, especially from the professional critics. It's just not well written. Why does it get such great reviews??? It's almost a B movie (though maybe not quite owing to its scale.)
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  15. May 18, 2013
    0
    Dragged out and over rated. If you want to watch this movie because you feel it is your patriotic duty to cheer on 'merica for their fine torture skills, just watch the first and last 15 minutes, everything else is just filler. At least it stays true to reality, for most of the hunt for Osama no one is doing anything.

    Also why are American critics ratings counted for this movie? you can
    Dragged out and over rated. If you want to watch this movie because you feel it is your patriotic duty to cheer on 'merica for their fine torture skills, just watch the first and last 15 minutes, everything else is just filler. At least it stays true to reality, for most of the hunt for Osama no one is doing anything.

    Also why are American critics ratings counted for this movie? you can not get more biased. most European or Canadian critics would give this a solid 50.
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  16. Jan 28, 2013
    0
    It was bland, boring and featured a horribly unemotional female lead. I honestly can't believe this movie was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, while superior films (Django Unchained) were left with table scraps.

    The entire movie portrays the Americans in a terrible light. There are multiple events throughout the story in which a number of Pakistani or Afghani citizens are killed, but the
    It was bland, boring and featured a horribly unemotional female lead. I honestly can't believe this movie was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, while superior films (Django Unchained) were left with table scraps.

    The entire movie portrays the Americans in a terrible light. There are multiple events throughout the story in which a number of Pakistani or Afghani citizens are killed, but the only time there is any mourning or empathy whatsoever is when a group of monkeys are killed, offscreen.

    And a nomination for best screenplay? I laughed my ass of when the gruff American interrogator quipped "Everybody breaks, bro. It's biology." Seriously? The entire thing is a confused mess that is about as historically accurate as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.
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  17. Jan 7, 2013
    6
    Its pretty obvious after seeing this film that Kathryn have some real issues with men. All you hvae seen his latest(all) movies. They are centered mens world. She is trying so hard to show that " fuxx man" attitude. In this flick example .. notice the head star pushing the negotiator and in many scenes shes dominating the male cia agents. its just disturbing to see how he puts things,Its pretty obvious after seeing this film that Kathryn have some real issues with men. All you hvae seen his latest(all) movies. They are centered mens world. She is trying so hard to show that " fuxx man" attitude. In this flick example .. notice the head star pushing the negotiator and in many scenes shes dominating the male cia agents. its just disturbing to see how he puts things, theres like 2 lesbian cia agents running the show. and most laughable part in the movie when she writes numbers on the window and acts like a baby.. AND then comes the father figure, after she have told him " this motherxxxxx..." wuuuut?? i was laughing so hard.. And what,, she maked those navy seals operators look so stupid.... NOOOOOO.... ok. its not a bad movie. but bigelows personal issues just make it little ankward to watch. Expand
  18. Jan 9, 2013
    10
    Excellent movie! hands down the best movie of 2012. full of suspense with a great performance from Jessica Chastain and wonderful direction from kathryn bigelow
  19. Jan 13, 2013
    5
    Not impressed, as I was not impressed with Hurt Locker. Bigelow goes through the motions but does not tell a compelling story. What are compelling in both movies are the topics, and that seems to give a boost to the buzz about the movies. I am confused why this movie receiving such high marks from critics. As for Jessica Chastain, nothing wrong with the performance: just not much for herNot impressed, as I was not impressed with Hurt Locker. Bigelow goes through the motions but does not tell a compelling story. What are compelling in both movies are the topics, and that seems to give a boost to the buzz about the movies. I am confused why this movie receiving such high marks from critics. As for Jessica Chastain, nothing wrong with the performance: just not much for her to do.[ I haven't seen all nominees, but female performance I remember enjoying the most this year: Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises.] Expand
  20. Jan 6, 2013
    9
    After seeing this film all I can say is.... wow. She knocked it out of the park again. Kathryn Bigelow created a drama that involves almost the entire war on terror, although may seem dragged out to some, seems totally necessary to me. Two wars, 6,616 American troops killed, and one mastermind of terror brought down. The scenes of torture may seem too intense for some but are needed toAfter seeing this film all I can say is.... wow. She knocked it out of the park again. Kathryn Bigelow created a drama that involves almost the entire war on terror, although may seem dragged out to some, seems totally necessary to me. Two wars, 6,616 American troops killed, and one mastermind of terror brought down. The scenes of torture may seem too intense for some but are needed to convey the action took to bring down this man. Jessica Chastain gives an Academy award worthy portrayal of the CIA agent Maya that will leave an impact on you. I seriously recommend that any American who was impacted over the last decade by 9/11 or the war on terror to go see this. It will put things into prospective.

    Best film of 2012 by far and away.
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  21. Jan 10, 2013
    5
    it's no hurt locker. the timeline gaps water down the story. the 95 critic rating is BS. i don't see it. there are many better pictures in theaters right now. It is watchable but not powerful or memorable like hurt locker was. prepare for disappointment and you may come out ok.
  22. Jan 25, 2013
    4
    A very disappointing movie. I have no idea what the critics are on about. The only acting with any depth was the bit part by Fares Fares, the rest were quiet, gentle, dimensionless drones representing the CIA and army personnel calmly going about their business (right).
  23. Jan 19, 2013
    10
    Bigelow's new film is an example of (what it seems to me) a new trend, new wave for the American film production. It is about time for some things to start to change! ZDT is not pretentious moral story carefully crafted and polished to be liked by large infantile and sterile audiences! ZDT is not a compromise and it is not conclusive, it doesn't make it's own statements, it doesn't provideBigelow's new film is an example of (what it seems to me) a new trend, new wave for the American film production. It is about time for some things to start to change! ZDT is not pretentious moral story carefully crafted and polished to be liked by large infantile and sterile audiences! ZDT is not a compromise and it is not conclusive, it doesn't make it's own statements, it doesn't provide quick and false answers and it doesn't take moral stand behind what it depicts which is by my opinion its greatest strength. This is not sterile work like many amusement-seeking moviegoers and "eminent" journalists wished it to be! Are Boal and Bigelow to be blamed that these consumers won't be able to see Maya's chin and nose up in the air as the proud motherf**ker who killed bin Laden? NO!!! And what they get at the end? Only Maya's tears!
    ZDT is intellectually challenging work of art, meant to trigger conversation, to provide options. It insists that people should be able to build their own opinions about what they see. I completely understand that some of those opinions may not be positive, i get that. But claiming that ZDT with all of its ambiguity is just a propaganda or that it glorifies torture, is desperate, outrageous, conservative and shameful backlash! As a cinematic experience it is thrilling, dark, mournful, strange and uncompromisingly beautiful! As an artistic achievement I see it as ingenious polemical statement against the Hollywood based dis-empowerment of the spectator! As a screenplay and dialogue, it is a work of a genius since it provides the audience with political ambiguity and ambivalence. As a film, it is probably one of the greatest American films ever made. Thank you Bigelow and thank you Boal for this bold masterpiece.
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  24. Jan 26, 2013
    0
    Over-hyped United States rubbish. Even if you see past the jingoistic propaganda you're left with a poorly executed tedious B-movie. Yawn. Avoid at all costs.
  25. May 19, 2013
    0
    horrible film that shows senseless perverted violence and doesn't even bother to make a point
    as a documentary it fails to answer or even stab at the real question WHY? Why did the US with all the resources of richest country could not locate a single man and/or destroy organization which he stood behind.
    This film's entertainment value is nonexistent
  26. Mar 20, 2013
    4
    I expected much more. Torture yeah yeah we know it's nessecary but not really enjoyable to watch. Someone said "Just because a women directed it doesn't mean its bad' what she got to do with this its still bad I have scene female directed films that wer 8 stars.
  27. Jan 26, 2013
    1
    Did not particularly enjoy it. Painstakingly slow with no real suspense . I thought when the actual raid occurred it would at least have made the movie somewhat worth seeing but even that didn't help. I just feel the whole movie was not overly believable. Obviously only a handful of people know what really happened but i felt like there was too much creative/artistic license afforded byDid not particularly enjoy it. Painstakingly slow with no real suspense . I thought when the actual raid occurred it would at least have made the movie somewhat worth seeing but even that didn't help. I just feel the whole movie was not overly believable. Obviously only a handful of people know what really happened but i felt like there was too much creative/artistic license afforded by the director. All I really wanted was for the movie to have a crisp flow with lots of suspense and be somewhat believable and most of all entertaining. I'm afraid it failed on all accounts. Expand
  28. Feb 18, 2013
    10
    Why are there bad reviews? THE MOVIE IS AWESOME, by far the best movie of 2012. It makes the Dark Knight Rises look like Garbage for little Kids.
  29. Feb 18, 2013
    9
    I've been complaining about the lack of the ultimate movie about the 9/11 for quite a long time. I don't complain anymore, the tragic event finally has its masterpiece.
  30. Apr 6, 2013
    10
    Having now watched ZDT twice my appreciation has increased. It's really quite masterful as a work of film making, maybe the best of 2012. But it's not an easy film to watch for those expecting hyper action or in your face acting. Jessica Chastain was expertly cast as an obsessive agent who spent years trying to discover the whereabouts of UBL. While the torture scenes were tough to watchHaving now watched ZDT twice my appreciation has increased. It's really quite masterful as a work of film making, maybe the best of 2012. But it's not an easy film to watch for those expecting hyper action or in your face acting. Jessica Chastain was expertly cast as an obsessive agent who spent years trying to discover the whereabouts of UBL. While the torture scenes were tough to watch I never felt the film glorified it as a means of extracting info. The slow build up to the raid was perfectly timed. And even a second time around the final compound scenes were thrilling. No wonder it was bestowed with Oscar nominations. Expand
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 27, 2013
    100
    Zero Dark Thirty is precise, definitive filmmaking, yet Bigelow refuses to hand over easy answers. Some people call that evasion. I call it the ultimate despair.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Jan 21, 2013
    100
    Gripping throughout, with an impressive central performance, this is like a Dogme 95 redo of a Chuck Norris film - by heroic effort, the good guys find and kill a bad guy. How you feel about that is something Bigelow leaves you to decide.
  3. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jan 16, 2013
    89
    It's a mistake to confuse Zero Dark Thirty for "truth" – that would be a disservice to the high level of craftsmanship, from first-billed actors to below-the-line production crew, at work in this movie fiction – but there is admirably little fat on its bones.