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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 934 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. 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.
  5. 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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  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Jan 27, 2013
    5
    When Kathryn Bigelow went on American TV recently to address the controversy that had built up concerning the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, her main defence for the film was that it is a movie and not a documentary. This statement is fair enough in itself, but a movie is first meant to be entertainment and other considerations are secondary. A documentary, on the other hand, is firstWhen Kathryn Bigelow went on American TV recently to address the controversy that had built up concerning the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, her main defence for the film was that it is a movie and not a documentary. This statement is fair enough in itself, but a movie is first meant to be entertainment and other considerations are secondary. A documentary, on the other hand, is first factual and then hopefully also entertaining. Zero Dark Thirty is for the most part too complex to be easily understood from a historical point of view and, on the whole, to slow too be first rate entertainment. Even the last 30 minutes or so which shows the navy seals storming the suspected hideaway fortress of Bin Laden fails to be either as exciting or as informative as a recent documentary on the subject called ' Bin Laden: Shoot to Kill'. For me this documentary steals Bigelows thunder with its richly detailed reconstructions and dazzling insights into the whole operation. Zero Dark Thirty, unfortunately, never gets to cinematic grips with an unsatisfactory script that whilst not pandering to its audience, nevertheless treats them with contempt by leaving out many more interesting and revelatory details than it puts in. Expand
  12. Jan 25, 2013
    5
    Zero Dark Thirty starts strong. The tension is palpable and evokes all the appropriate emotions--in the beginning. But as the movie roles on it almost seems like it's forgets what story it's trying to tell or why it's important to tell it and seems to miss it's own point behind tired military cliches which often appears as a substitute to actual character development. "I believe I wasZero Dark Thirty starts strong. The tension is palpable and evokes all the appropriate emotions--in the beginning. But as the movie roles on it almost seems like it's forgets what story it's trying to tell or why it's important to tell it and seems to miss it's own point behind tired military cliches which often appears as a substitute to actual character development. "I believe I was spared do I could finish this." This being killing Osama. It's this lame, lazy attempt at character development makes all the characters feel like flat, one dimensional unlikeable people with any specific motivation beyond Jessica Chastain's character eventually deciding halfway through the movie on revenge. The acting is solid all around and, even though I am a fan of hers (Tree of Life, The Help), the great performance isn't Chastain, who comes across as stiff and not believable as a tough C.I.A interrogator (adequate at best and mediocre at her worst). It's Reda Kateb the man who is tortured for the first third of the movie and the only character you ever feel anything for or who comes across as a complex, real human being. As a fan of The Hurt Locker I was ready to like this movie. I was ready to LOVE it. Unfortunately it falls short in almost every way and often it's just plain boring. With all that having been said I do think people should see this movie because I think the real life details it offers are important, it's just everything about the presentation that leaves a lot to be desired. You'll get 'em next time Kathy Bigelow. Expand
  13. Feb 8, 2013
    6
    I am not concerned about the movie being objective or biased, I'm not a Muslim but I come from an Islamic nation, I have no great love for America, but nor hatred. I read about 9/11 conspiracy theory in some places and I find the evidences satisfying. But, I went to the film to be entertained. I wasn't expecting a mind-blowing action, far from it, I was expecting a realistic andI am not concerned about the movie being objective or biased, I'm not a Muslim but I come from an Islamic nation, I have no great love for America, but nor hatred. I read about 9/11 conspiracy theory in some places and I find the evidences satisfying. But, I went to the film to be entertained. I wasn't expecting a mind-blowing action, far from it, I was expecting a realistic and psychological military movie, as I saw and liked in The Hurt Locker. But instead, I saw a snooze-fest movie, with almost %60 spent behind the desk, planning who was working for who, other %30 in military bases or streets etc, and only %10(which is the assassination) as the movie I'd like to see. Sorry, but well-below my expectations. Expand
  14. Jan 8, 2013
    5
    TL;DR Brainless propaganda that will have you clapping to the national anthem with a hard-on for Merica and freedom.

    Good action movie, that part is undeniable. However, the premise of the movie is locked in a struggle with pure fantasy and is greatly over exaggerated, obviously to make for Hollywood standards.
  15. Jan 12, 2013
    5
    Starts and ends well but the core of the film is mediocrity at its finest in film form. The problem with this film is that, Bigelow and Boal want to say so much and yet, they confine themselves too a two and a half hour window. Boal shows just how much a fish out of water he really is here. The script is a tempermental mess, introducing one character only too abandon them for another asStarts and ends well but the core of the film is mediocrity at its finest in film form. The problem with this film is that, Bigelow and Boal want to say so much and yet, they confine themselves too a two and a half hour window. Boal shows just how much a fish out of water he really is here. The script is a tempermental mess, introducing one character only too abandon them for another as soon as any character development begins to form. The story itself jumps from plot point to plot point with out any real meat between the set peices. The closest comparison would be a Michael Bay film, in terms of the organization of the film. You see their is really no plot development, no actual emotional connection to anything one sees in this film. Instead, what you get is a series of events held together with padding. Like Bay it seems Boal wrote the big set pieces first and then linked them through shoddy narrative structure. The set peices mind you are amazing, but everything in between is just lazy filler. At least Bay tries to infuse his filler with some energy but ZDT, nope. The padding is a barren waste off missed opportunity. Jessica Chaistain is the most evident in this sense of dull acting. She just stands around and looks mildly discomforted by everything. Mark Strong and Jason Clarke are the only ones who really do any acting. In fact there are only two scenes that really have any life too them, the first being the one where Strong's character, George is first introduced. There is fire there is energy, life and then... Bigelows drops it all and goes back to morose mild discomfort until the last chunk of the film. The end of the film is really well done. And that is where you see that beyond the ending, this film is simply just another Body of Lies. It's almost as if Boal wrote this first, in a flurry off maddening genius and Bigelow directed five minutes after he handed it too her and then they wrote the rest of the film. All their energy gone into that last forty minutes, Though as much as I lambaste this film, considering the overly generous praise given to it (especially considering the high quality of The Hurt Locker), it does present an interesting premise. It would have made one hell of a miniseries! Boal even separates the individual acts almost as if they were episodes. And Bigelow directs each act as if it is an episode of an HBO miniseries, yet sadly, its not. Instead we have a bloated film, from a writer who couldn't figure out how to write this story beyond scripting the Abbotobad raid. It's a great story. It's just on the wrong screen. Expand
  16. ndf
    Jan 13, 2013
    5
    Incredibly over-rated. It was like an episode of Homeland without the talented cast or surprises. The lead actress even reminds me of Claire Daines during some parts of the film. Interesting because of the "how it happened" aspect of the story but mostly disappointing. I think a documentary would have been just as effective.
  17. Jan 12, 2013
    6
    It was fine. A valid summary of the killing of Bin Laden. Sometimes when people get caught up with reciting a story they lose sight of what the story is. This movie was just a summary nothing more. The acting of Jessica Chastain was solid but otherwise the movie was unimpressive specifically in the build up of all the little rising actions. I'm not saying that it was not valid to show howIt was fine. A valid summary of the killing of Bin Laden. Sometimes when people get caught up with reciting a story they lose sight of what the story is. This movie was just a summary nothing more. The acting of Jessica Chastain was solid but otherwise the movie was unimpressive specifically in the build up of all the little rising actions. I'm not saying that it was not valid to show how long it took to find one man I'm just saying this representation was unnecessary. Expand
  18. Lyn
    Jan 13, 2013
    6
    I gather that the critics' adoration of this film has a lot to do with the impressive technical moviemaking involved -- and it is impressive. But I felt that it needed to give Maya, the main character, more of a personal life and identity to make up for the fact that (obviously) we know how it will end. Both of those shortcomings make it less thrilling than "The Hurt Locker," in myI gather that the critics' adoration of this film has a lot to do with the impressive technical moviemaking involved -- and it is impressive. But I felt that it needed to give Maya, the main character, more of a personal life and identity to make up for the fact that (obviously) we know how it will end. Both of those shortcomings make it less thrilling than "The Hurt Locker," in my opinion. I wondered if the torture aspect had been blown out of proportion by the media controversy about it, but must admit that those scenes were disturbing. Expand
  19. Jan 13, 2013
    5
    You know that feeling you get after you take a **** that kind of just falls out of you, and you don't really feel refreshed afterwards? That's how this movie made me feel.
  20. Jan 10, 2013
    5
    This was a very well done movie. It was well shot, the acting was great and the cinematography was superb. That being said, it was not emotionally engaging. The movie ran like a window into the 9/11 aftermath and the hunt for Osama. I was not very attached, or even too interested, in the characters. I feel like this movie would have been better as a documentary, with explanations andThis was a very well done movie. It was well shot, the acting was great and the cinematography was superb. That being said, it was not emotionally engaging. The movie ran like a window into the 9/11 aftermath and the hunt for Osama. I was not very attached, or even too interested, in the characters. I feel like this movie would have been better as a documentary, with explanations and guidance. As it was, I felt teased about Maya's personality and character and everyone else felt like pawns. Expand
  21. Jan 18, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It was okay. Basically a well-dramatised account of the hunt for Bin Laden, but suffers from a too-long running time. The acting is very average, the script sparse, the dialogue terrible, the plot surprisingly thin. For a film that tries to chart the hunt for arguably the biggest boogieman in US history, it's a very empty film. The ONLY reason that the film succeeds is because of it's subject matter. Without that, it's just a recreation documentary without any of the interesting documentary information. The scriptwriter, Mark Boal, struggles to write a coherent narrative, and seems to resort to choppy little vingettes instead. I don't know if that was a conscious decision, or a lack of skill. It's worth seeing on video, and only because of the subject material. As a narrative documentary it's great; as a film it sucks. Expand
  22. Jan 20, 2013
    4
    I love Kathryn Bigelow, but goodness, this movie is languid and poorly paced. Ironically, the movie had 3 hours to move us by its characters, but came up short, I have no connection with the characters in this amazing story. I think the movie comes across as a dramatic documentary and we as the audience only watch this story, not be engaged by it. Seriously, they could have cut about aI love Kathryn Bigelow, but goodness, this movie is languid and poorly paced. Ironically, the movie had 3 hours to move us by its characters, but came up short, I have no connection with the characters in this amazing story. I think the movie comes across as a dramatic documentary and we as the audience only watch this story, not be engaged by it. Seriously, they could have cut about a dozen establishing montages by half or entirely, and made the movie 2 hours shorter. The whole thing felt a little melodramatic and it it wanted to be like The Year Of Living Dangerously or All The Presidents Men, and have that grit and docu feel, but the dialogue was laughable, and emoting seemed artificial. I am stunned at the fanfare behind this movie, it's almost like it's being touted as so the world watches it, and sends some sort of perverted message about the tenacity of the US, or like, don't mess with us thing. Zero Dark Thirty feels like a Saturday afternoon movie or mini series for Discovery or History channel, or it would have done well on HBO. But not the best KB has made. Even still I dig her work. Expand
  23. Jan 9, 2013
    4
    I wonder what happens.... This movie isn't historically accurate at all. I was almost turned off instantly when the trailer showed Seal Team 6 slowly approaching Osama's house. As if Osama and his guards wouldn't have heard the helicopter approach in the first place...
  24. Jan 11, 2013
    5
    I was a huge fan of Bigelow's previous film, The Hurt Locker. That being said this movie fell short of my expectation. Overall it was too long and moved way to slow to keep my interest. I thought the acting was great and the direction had its moments (The last 30 minutes in particular). Unfortunately, I fail to see why this movie is receiving the critical praise that it is.
  25. Jan 28, 2013
    6
    I wanted to love this movie, but I'm less in awe of the whole as I am its parts. The torture first act is brilliant, and I'll be the first to admit that it made me question the decision to stop waterboarding as it led to the information that eventually captured Bin Laden. The second act, which displays Chastain overacting in a far reaching and ultimately current-events-heavy proceduralI wanted to love this movie, but I'm less in awe of the whole as I am its parts. The torture first act is brilliant, and I'll be the first to admit that it made me question the decision to stop waterboarding as it led to the information that eventually captured Bin Laden. The second act, which displays Chastain overacting in a far reaching and ultimately current-events-heavy procedural disappointed. Its inclusion of commentary on the Obama administration was both negative and positive, which stayed politically neutral. The only redeeming factor of the second act is that is shows the consequences of CIA decisions in real time. The third act, the operation, is extremely disappointing, as it was neither directed for intensity or tension, both things I am convinced Bigelow has immense talent in. The potential for tension was wasted by poor editing more than direction or writing, but I can't go into detail without giving spoilers. Chastain was in way over her head, as she did not hit the tone correctly in more than one scene, even though she was the lead and is nominated for everything. Great moments, average total. Expand
  26. Feb 1, 2013
    5
    Strongly overhyped by the critics. Like Hurtlockers the Hunt-for-Bin-Laden lacks the thrill if would expect in ssuch topic and over long periods felt dull and boring. Bigelow is dissapointing and does not deserve an Oscar in my eyes. Why Hollywood critics try to hype her so much,,, no idea... perhaps because she is female....^^
  27. Feb 3, 2013
    5
    I generally hold critical opinion in high regard. So I was extremely disappointed to discover that the critics were absolutely wrong about this movie. This must go down as by far the most overrated movie of all time. It reminded me of a 2.5 hour episode of 24, with more realistic combat, but similarly fictional depictions of torture. I certainly don't need a movie to be exciting allI generally hold critical opinion in high regard. So I was extremely disappointed to discover that the critics were absolutely wrong about this movie. This must go down as by far the most overrated movie of all time. It reminded me of a 2.5 hour episode of 24, with more realistic combat, but similarly fictional depictions of torture. I certainly don't need a movie to be exciting all the way through (hell, I love Downton Abbey), but Zero Dark Thirty is anti climactic, and overall quite boring on ALL levels. While I don't agree with romaticizing torture, I would never let that aspect effect my judgement of the movie. The movie just sucks. There's really no other way to describe it. It sucks. It's basically everything the Hurt Locker is not. Expand
  28. Feb 9, 2013
    5
    I tried watching Hurt Locker after all the media furore. For me that film was just plain tedium and I gave up after twenty minutes. I enjoyed 'Point Break' as a teenager. Any film with a character called 'Bodhi' is a good thing in my book. I found 'Near Dark' to be a fresh take on the vampire story, but remember thinking at the time that the machismo posturing was somewhat puerile andI tried watching Hurt Locker after all the media furore. For me that film was just plain tedium and I gave up after twenty minutes. I enjoyed 'Point Break' as a teenager. Any film with a character called 'Bodhi' is a good thing in my book. I found 'Near Dark' to be a fresh take on the vampire story, but remember thinking at the time that the machismo posturing was somewhat puerile and undermined the romantic aspects of the story. Having recently re-watched a portion of it, I found its dialogue to be cringeworthy. Having now seen ZDT I can confirm that, although her cinematic capabilities have improved no end, her work with actors is still her weak point. The characterisation was weak, and her earlier gung ho preoccupation of proving herself in a man's world is just, well embarrassing. Resorting to profanity does not make you tough. I can't help but feel that Bigelow is trying to compete with her ex James Cameron on the action stakes. Their shared enthusiasm for an explosion and the technology of warfare is very apparent here. I also found the film to be amoral. I wouldn't give the film any credence and say that is dangerous, as it's only a movie, but to be this detached and dispassionate about such a delicate subject just feels plain wrong. I'm only a lay person, and don't know the ins and outs of the actual story, but it did have the unmistakable whiff of propaganda to me. Personally I felt that Chastain just wasn't strong enough to carry this movie and wasn't convincing at all. On the plus side, I liked the way that it showed mistakes being made. If anything, the message of this film was the dangers of being given too much responsibility too soon. It also portrayed the pressure that is placed on women when afforded additional power over the natural sway they have over men. Although a long film it did pass quickly, but made for uncomfortable viewing throughout. I would say that the coda to this film is: I just want to go home, as I did at the end of it all. Expand
  29. Jan 10, 2013
    6
    I love Hurt Locker. I love history. I love America. I do not love this film. There is so much dialogue and scenes that feel forced, and we get no character development. And the raid isn't even that good. Act of Valor did it better and more entertaining. Some people will say this is an amazing film but if and when you chose to see it, realize its 100% dialogue. Well 95% cuz certainty freaksI love Hurt Locker. I love history. I love America. I do not love this film. There is so much dialogue and scenes that feel forced, and we get no character development. And the raid isn't even that good. Act of Valor did it better and more entertaining. Some people will say this is an amazing film but if and when you chose to see it, realize its 100% dialogue. Well 95% cuz certainty freaks you out. Expand
  30. Feb 28, 2013
    6
    The film was alright I suppose, there was just, nothing in particular that I found "amazing" while watching it, in fact there are only 3 or 4 memorable scenes.
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.