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Generally favorable reviews- based on 866 Ratings

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  1. Dec 26, 2012
    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 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
  2. Dec 21, 2012
    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 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.
  3. Jan 6, 2013
    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 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. I'll go read the reviews to see why I'm wrong. Expand
  4. Dec 20, 2012
    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
  5. Jan 14, 2013
    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.
  6. Jan 12, 2013
    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 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. Jan 6, 2013
    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.
  8. Dec 19, 2012
    A Cinematic masterpiece with the technical and emotional skill of a cubist painting, Zero Dark Thirty is a genre-creating film that is touchstone of modern cinema.
  9. Jan 5, 2013
    This film bolsters the false impression that the US's engaging in torture, though distasteful, is necessary by painting a false linkage between torture of "terror suspects" and the locating of Osama bin Laden. No information leading to the location of bin Laden was obtained via torture.
  10. Dec 19, 2012
    I think we all remember 9/11 and the announcement that Bin Laden had been killed, but none of us knew the true order of events in between and the granular detail of the missions. Zero Dark Thirty provides a truly gripping account of the ten year manhunt for the most dangerous man of our time. This is her best work to date and its honest dialogue and compelling acting allow the audience to feel everything that anyone involved experienced. Expand
  11. Jan 5, 2013
    The film has no real plot or development, it almost feels like Prometheus it never gives good reasoning for anything, its huge time gaps arent confusing but makes it even more tedious. Movie skips through time and just presents situation without any background information like the audience is supposed to know everything to do with everyone and every location. The torture wasnt bad, depending on your tolerance, and it was definitely not a pro-Obama political film. The film is just about Maia and her arrogance and her acting bothered me, great, but vague. Film has tons of plot holes and mistakes yet the critics love it once again. Expand
  12. Jan 6, 2013
    The first bad movie of 2013, this movie was so hard to watch. The only reason I can find as to why the critics are in love with this movie is because of what the movie itself is about. The man was a monster, the movie doesn't do the act any justice. I understand they put this together out of the information available, quite frankly if this is how it went down it was a very sloppy mission. This movie serves more as an attempt at Sony trying to cash in on the monsters death, I honestly cannot see any other reason for them to award this movie with such high regard. I would not recommend this movie to anyone, and it's ok to dislike a movie like this and be patriotic and against all forms of terror at the same time, Go Watch Something Else! Expand
  13. Dec 19, 2012
    First thing's first: Jessica Chastain is smoking hot. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, how is the rest of the movie? Pretty damn good. I would compare Zero Dark Thirty to a film like Inception in that you will be amazed by the sheer film-making talent and attention to detail that is on display here, but the lack of characters to latch on to will leave some viewers cold. The only character that you will feel any affinity towards is the protagonist Maya, and even she doesn't exactly come off as loveable. However this shortcoming is more than offset by the movie's strengths. The script is tight, the mood is often tense, and even though you know how it all ends, you find yourself completely sucked in by the engrossing events. The only reason I can think of that anyone would give this film a negative review is if they have something against America. Unfortunately I've read numerous forums and reviews and there are tons of bitter people who fill the net with their anti-American dogma instead of simply evaluating the film as a piece of artistic media. But if you're willing to set your prejudices aside and can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into making this movie, you'll be blown away. Expand
  14. Jan 9, 2013
    God, punishing me for what ? I would like to look at it as an ordinary film, but unfortunately it is filmed to order the Pentagon and intelligence services, and that it is hell to feel. This is not a movie, but propaganda. From Mrs. perhaps you do not want to see anything .
  15. Jan 16, 2013
    If your a red blooded patriotic American and not freaked out by the sight of terrorists having a little water dribbled on their face your going to love this film. If your thin skinned ACLU dues paying liberal your still going to love this film, (but for all the wrong reasons.) If you are squeamish at the sight of intense violence you might have to cover your eyes for big chunks of this film but see it anyway because its that great. Adapting a major historical event (especially one shrouded in classified information) to the big screen and making it totally plausible and so compelling you don't want it's 2 hours and 40 minutes to end is a minor miracle. I'll pay full fare to see it again this weekend. Expand
  16. Jan 9, 2013
    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
  17. Jan 10, 2013
    A real let down. I'm a sucker for a Black Hawk Down, Hurt Locker, Etc. type of movie. This is none of those and dont be fuled by the complete bogus marketing. A complete bore through the first 2 hours with a few explosions thrown in to keep the audience interested. The complete lack of character development including the CIA operatives, The Terrorists, and the 15 minutes of seal team footage was very surprising. Its basically 2 hours of a CIA operative pullering her hair out in front of a computer follwed by 15 minutes of explosions, and 15 minutes of seal team six. The ending was so hear it comes and there it goes. I have no idea why the critics gave this such high ratings. Expand
  18. Jan 7, 2013
    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
  19. Dec 21, 2012
    Amazing . This is not a triumphant story in their telling, but it is one uncommonly freighted with the weight of history.Like the fictional Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs,'' Maya is a consummate professional who brilliantly performs her job in an often hostile work environment.
  20. Jan 8, 2013
    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.
  21. Jan 5, 2013
    I've encountered this movie in a sneak preview and since people usually visit a cinema to get a bit of distance to reality and want to get entertained or even touched, this movie was possibly the worst choice for this event, especially as it was the 1000th sneak of my cinema and expectations were high. 16 friends were with me on this evening, 5 of them left during the movie for various reasons like too graphical expression of senseless violence like torture scenes or because they lost the struggle against the agony caused of boredom.

    On a neutral point of view the topic of this movie is possibly only interesting to US americans where the documentary style of this movie might serve as the rehabilitation of a national trauma. To the rest of the world the topic is what it is. He lived, he blew stuff up, he died. Wheres a movie in that exept for Michael Bay? It's good stuff if you are into documentaries where you expect it to be boring but it fails as a movie.

    The 95 metacritic make me feel as if it's opposit day. It's not rationally comprehensible since this movie lacks so much that a good movie has to offer. Not because of the topic or the documentary style of the movie but of the bad craftmanship the director and producers showed. Worst of all was, since we probably all know most of the events that were depicted in this movie and especially how the movie must end, the real torture that needs to be criticized is the movie itself since especially the last scene appeared as if it tries to reinvent dullness. For the major part of this movie it is just plane boring. There is no such thing as an arc of suspense and the only emotion the movie manages to create is disgust right at the beginning when you partake in the torture scenes. I actually expected/feared that they also would have show how a man get's his head severed or his throat cut in some dark shag in afghanistan in every painful detail. Luckily this didn't happen. Yet on the climax of the movie - the final scene - the director desperately struggled in an attempt, to make a scene artificially suspenseful, where no suspense could ever be found and in the very last ending scene so stagy, that the most natural reaction you have to this cheesy attempt of pathos is to roll your eyes like an eightball on its way to the pocket. To me this is the most overrated movie i encountered on metacritic for one reason only: because americans feel like this movie has to matter because of the subject it deals with. To everyone else it is revealed as the waste of lifetime it actually is where the strongest emotion it created was the feeling of relief when you finally could step out of the cinema and proudly say "Yes! I managed to endure that movie!"

    Still i would give this movie one point for its excellent scenery. Everything appeared impressively authentic up to the house and the stealth helicopters. This was extraordinarily well done yet it isn't by far enough to turn it into an impressing film itself.. or even a mediocre one.
  22. Jan 6, 2013
    This movie is pure propaganda and celebrates the assassination of an unarmed man without a chance of trail. Due process is what America was built on and this film tries to undermine this by getting the American citizenry to accept that sacrificing this moral foundation is okay. This film is nothing but propaganda and is as far from a good movie as possible.
  23. Jan 13, 2013
    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 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
  24. Jan 5, 2013
    Great film, but I wouldn't put it past Hollywood to have had its screenplay exaggerated and all--it's events don't match up to the ones that occurred in real life. It is effective as entertainment though.
  25. Jan 6, 2013
    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 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.
  26. Jan 12, 2013
    This movie is perfect example of **** american propaganda. The movie is completely overrated by critics and should have never been nominated for best picture. its a generic action movie about american propaganda.
  27. Jan 17, 2013
    Trivialized a very serious subject and made it look outright silly. At the end of the movie you feel like killing Osama was a personal errand run by the analyst. And if the movie was meant to focus on the emotions and experiences of the brilliant lady analyst behind the whole operation, it totally failed it's intent as well cos there is no character development and the actress was also a misfit for the role. Whole movie lacked intensity and depth Expand
  28. Jan 12, 2013
    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 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 Expand
  29. Jan 12, 2013
    Yet another blatant exploitation of our nation's defense and security tactics. Everyone involved in this film should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Clearly too much information was leaked and everyone should boycott this kind of movie. Anything that provides this kind of insight into our military tactics carries the risk of putting our soldiers into harm's way.
  30. Jan 6, 2013
    A perfect movie. Tension is built thorough the entire movie so that by the time the last 30 minutes is left, your heart will be pounding.Great acting all around, Chastain is wonderful, best actor win for sure, wait and see.
  31. Jan 15, 2013
    This movie is a plot hole mess from start to finish. Is it trying to justify torture? Is it trying to tell me the US Government didn't know where Bin Laden was all the while? Propaganda horse **** This is the land of the free right? Not communist Russia. FFS.
  32. Jan 12, 2013
    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 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
  33. Jan 14, 2013
    This film is so over rated, I expected something better considering the amount of positive reception this film has received via the critics. However as with anything to do with films,games, music etc it boils down to what the viewers personal opinion is and to be honest there is nothing special here. Apart from the last 20ish minutes which is the scene of the Seal's infiltrating and breaching the compound of where UBL was hiding, leading up to that point prepared to be bored **** As most people have said here it seems this film is just another way to promote itself as propaganda. Expand
  34. Jan 9, 2013
    You might as well just skip the 2 first hours because it's only nonsense. I spent 2 hours and 30 minutes on this film, and only 10 of those minutes were worthy of watching. Production is good, and you could actually see the IR lasers with the NV mode. And supressed weapons actually sounded like supressed weapons and not laser beams, which is the reason I gave this a 1 and not a 0. Go spend your time elsewhere, or skip the first 2 hours. Expand
  35. Dec 23, 2012
    This movie is great. Deals with the real life issue that happened just over a year ago and the result is a very well-done thriller. Jessica Chastain is amazing in this, glad to see what's to come for her.
  36. Jan 9, 2013
    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...
  37. Jan 13, 2013
    Boring, tedious, slow, Bigelow, Chastain, minimal story line and even worse dialogue, etc., etc. - I wanted to like this movie, I really did - but boy what a chore it was to sit through it. At least it picked up once the Seal Team arrived to save the day. Chastain will probably win awards (not many quality lead actresses this year) but I hope this movie doesn't win much - I don't think it deserves it. Expand
  38. Jan 5, 2013
    Lets see based on the trailer, Zero Dark Thirty is quite similar to a Japanese 1990s anime Neon Genesis: Evangelion which had a similar story line about other dimension creatures attacking Earth and fighting them back with robots, which in the series was known as Evas. What makes it contrast is that there are no philosophical or religious influence in the movie. Thus, the movie i would say borrows a lot from the critically acclaimed anime series. To me, in my opinion, the anime series is way better than Zero Dark Thirty but if you want to see great action and visuals, this movie is right for you. Expand
  39. Dec 28, 2012
    Zero Dark Thirty is a masterwork film. It's the shortest 2 hour 40 minute film I've ever seen. Director Kathryn Bigelow films have an inexplicable, almost unholy ability to grip you, from start to finish.
  40. Jan 10, 2013
    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.
  41. Jan 15, 2013
    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.
  42. Jan 22, 2013
    HBO's "Homeland" in its first season offered more suspense. All the raving about Jessica Chastain's performance is a complete mystery to me. She's a cardboard cutout. I had to fight to stay awake during most of the film. The fact that this tragedy of a film has a 90++ Metacritc score makes me even further convinced that film reviewers are in the back pocket of those that dole out the most swag to them in various forms. Don't bother. Expand
  43. ndf
    Jan 13, 2013
    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.
  44. Jan 25, 2013
    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).
  45. Jan 13, 2013
    Easily the best picture of 2012. Anyone marking this film down has to have been inebriated. How do you tell a story that everyone knows the keynotes to, definitely knows the ending, all while keeping them interested throughout? Not an easy task, but it does help if you have Jessica Chastain to rely on. We forget that real people play the biggest roles in these kind of things. Tension, humor, unease, shock, passion, vengeance, triumph. Expand
  46. Jan 18, 2013
    I think this movie is the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. When you see a big gap between critic reviews and user reviews, the critics are trying to get you to buy a ticket so they can at least break even on the cost of this B rated movie. I want my money back.
  47. Jan 19, 2013
    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 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.
  48. Jan 26, 2013
    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.
  49. Jan 31, 2013
    This movie didnt really need to be two and a half hours long and i think it got released to quickly. They could have done a much better job on on the actual raid because the soldiers that acted in that scene are no way even close to how soldiers act. In fact it was a disgrace to soldiers in reality.
  50. Jan 12, 2013
    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 how long it took to find one man I'm just saying this representation was unnecessary. Expand
  51. Jan 13, 2013
    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.
  52. Jan 16, 2013
    Terrible. Slow, choppy, and boring. I found myself wanting to leave half way through and wish I had. The acting was at best mediocre and the script was just not believable. First, the film was obviously rushed to production, as it premiered only 20 months after the actual event. In that time, the movie had to be researched, the script drafted, the scenes shot, and the film edited. In addition, much of the material the movie would have to rely on is undoubtedly still classified. Given that, can anyone really believe that the film is at all accurate? No way. It would have been better to wait a few years for material to be declassified, let the historians write the books and shoot the documentaries, and then 10 to 15 years from now shoot a quality film based on accurate material. There was no need for Hollywood to rush this movie to the theaters. Has anyone seen Argo? Expand
  53. May 19, 2013
    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
  54. Feb 6, 2013
    i heard one of the terrorist shot was named garfield
  55. Mar 20, 2013
    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.
  56. Lyn
    Jan 13, 2013
    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 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
  57. Mar 21, 2013
    Well...truly amazing how bad a movie can be. Truly amazing how bad a script can be. Truly amazing how bad actors can act, I turned off the sound after a few minutes. This is worse than a home video of your dog catching a frisbee. Chastain is a complete miscast. Easily the worst movie of 2013, and the year has just started.
  58. Jan 9, 2013
    Loved this movie. Anyone giving it a 0-1 hates their lives. who cares if the real life soldiers are exactly the same? I was in the military and even the special forces were mostly nerds and no Where near the size you would think. The acting was excellent and bigelow lived up to the hurt locker. The "torture scenes weren't even remotely hard to watch. If you have half a brain and don't have attention deficit disorder go see this movie ASAP. Expand
  59. Jan 10, 2013
    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 and guidance. As it was, I felt teased about Maya's personality and character and everyone else felt like pawns. Expand
  60. Sep 17, 2013
    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.
  61. Jan 12, 2013
    Critic's darling Katherine Bigelow is one of the few directors that received great critical acclaim . Long gone is the lady behind visceral, action hits such as Point Break and Blue Steel; her films now are still a technical virtuoso and wonderfully shot, but tackling serious topics in a thoughtful way. Yes, it does tackle a heady, Oscar worthy topic such as the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Yes, Jessica Chastain is great and shaping up to be the next Meryl Streep. Yes, it is incredibly polished with great cinematography. But is it entertaining? Does it hold the audience's full attention? In spots, it is compelling. Do we really care for the characters? Well.. sort of. Is it Over-rated by critics? Yes, it sure is. Still an Oscar contender though but not a strong competitor against more 'stronger' Oscar nominees such as Lincoln or the Life of Pi Collapse
  62. Jan 12, 2013
    Kathryn Bigelow has done it again. Zero Dark Thirty is a triumph, that doesn't get bogged down by politically incorrect material that it chooses to use. The scenes of torture, combined with some excellent acting from Jessica Chastain had me hooked from the beginning, but it wasn't until the end of the movie, at the very last scene, when I realized that, like the Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty is just another character study of an important person that is put into events bigger than they can imagine. Yes, the movie is about catching and killing OBL, but what makes ZDT so good is how Chastain's character changes through the years in her obsession to find one of the worst men in recent history. Yes, people are going to be ignorant and give it zeroes for a score because maybe they were bored or they just hate when critics love a movie, but those people are wrong. This movie deserves the praise it's getting, because it's a tribute to an historic event in our history, has incredible acting, and is more than what you make it out to be. This was the first movie in awhile that after the credits roll, I just sat there for five minutes and processed all that I saw. Don't let the haters keep you away, this is an excellent movie and should be seen by every American citizen. Expand
  63. Jan 21, 2013
    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.) Expand
  64. Jan 11, 2013
    As a film, I really enjoyed it. It is engaging from beginning to end. This is not an action film, it's an attempt at a slightly dramatized re-enactment.

    However, I don't feel like the government should have authorized this material for the masses.
  65. May 18, 2013
    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. Expand
  66. Jan 11, 2013
    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.
  67. Jan 11, 2013
    this movie is the example of how a good movie have to be. Is incredibly emotional and beastly. You feel stressed in the final part of the movie but is a good stress. fantastic and highly recommended
  68. Jan 20, 2013
    One of the worst movies I've ever seen in my entire life, zero character development, parts of the movie jumps around year to year, and the last 30 minutes where boring; shooting at unarmed civilians? HAHA nice american propaganda.

    Jessica Chastain is one of the most annoying and terrible actors I've ever encountered, and her character is even worse- WHO CARES about some 'super woman'
    who single handly took down OBL.

    A few good actors do pop in for a few seconds, but then go away and appear for no reason a hour later.
    The "best" part of the movie, is the suicide bomber who was let into a get this... Tier 1 base because they said he'd get "scared off" of he got searched... LOL, the best part was she was texting a friend and you know from 500 miles away that when she died maya would send a few texts saying "You there? Please respond if you get this"

    Never, NEVER watch this movie. Maybe if you have no idea what happened with OBL , but if you're not american there is no point to watch this mound of ****

    **** THIS MOVIE
  69. Jan 22, 2013
    Being former military, at times working very closely with JSOC, i found myself nit-picking the action at the end of this flick. I understand that making a movie and showing reality are two different things... but i feel there is more fiction here than reality. From the (non) dynamic entry of the seal team into the compound, to the CIA analyst siccing her attack dogs to "kill" rather than capture he most valuable intelligence asset in the world at this time. Laughable really. But then again Hollywood has re-written lots of wartime history...remember all your friends who swore Inglorious Basterds was based on true events. So in the end, i'm neither better informed nor entertained after watching this. Expand
  70. Jan 24, 2013
    Has Katherine Bigelow gone one political misstep too far? This film is informative in a breathless journalistic way and intermittently intriguing but its really just a contrived, arrogant, over-stuffed mish mash of left and right wing view points that ultimately is hugely dull.
    The Hurt Locker, Bigelow's 2009 movie, came out during the Bush administration and probably began production
    around 2005. But it is a thrilling but personal antiwar movie. Recall the plot? The hero cannot bear to remain at "home," the place he is protecting. There was a narrative and soul at the core of this film. you were able to invest your time to it. Zero Dark Thirty, as a piece of cinema, just totally misses the mark and leaves the viewer to decide its questions posed.
    It seems to navigate deviously too. the torture scenes, though harsh are by no means controversial to the story, but they are shoved aside to then tell a tale of moral ambiguity and gung-ho American hero worship. The fact remains that the general public, no matter how clear they think they are with their opinion, will never know the truth. Yes there are misguided, fanatical jihads out there but there is too much corruption, greed and inconsistencies to label America the true heroes.
    Oh, and back to the film..Its boring! And Jessica Chastain has to be the least convincing CIA agent ever. Not subscribing to this film's accolades at all.
  71. Jan 26, 2013
    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 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
  72. Jan 28, 2013
    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.
  73. Feb 18, 2013
    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.
  74. BKM
    Jan 30, 2013
    Zero Dark Thirty spans 10 years and two presidential administrations in its depiction of the hunt for 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Naturally there's a lot of material to cover and a single viewing probably can't put everything into the proper perspective. Still, Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Marc Boal keep things moving along at a fluid pace and the tension is never less than palpable despite the fact that we know how it's going to end. Jessica Chastain is superb as the agent who devotes herself unfailingly to the elimination of bin Laden, only to be left with the realization that the price may have been her own humanity. Expand
  75. Feb 18, 2013
    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.
  76. Jan 15, 2013
    Reading the user reviews it seems more and more obvious that the attention span of the average viewer keeps shrinking. Apparently if there is no action or character development then the watching gets dreary. Thinking no longer seems an option? Learning either? In this excellent movie we get a good overview of the pursuit of Bin Laden, as the clues are hunted down and many discarded except the one most successful clue pursued obsessively by a few. As a history buff I love a good historical detective story and this is one, but if your thing is Super heroes; robots; endless violence and bathroom humor don't bother. Expand
  77. Apr 6, 2013
    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 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
  78. Jan 8, 2013
    Though this movie could have easily been titled "Homeland: The Movie," it is excellent nonetheless. I also understand that some will be turned off by the prolific use of torture in the film. Those scenes are disturbing and meant to be. But anyone who doesn't think this film is honest in what it is portraying is either overly partisan or just not honest with themselves. Even though we all know the end, the movie develops a tension towards that end which is palpable. Chastain is wonderful in the lead role. It shares the same gritty cinematography as the Hurt Locker, but for me, it was a more interesting story, perhaps because so much of it is behind the scenes. Expand
  79. Jan 21, 2013
    I will put this movie in the top ten of the year although I thought "Lincoln"was better. This film made think of several things throughout. One, why does no one show the attack on the Twin Towers? Michael Moore did and I think that would have really added a lot to this film's tension level. Second, Iraq is only mentioned in passing further raising the question of why we invaded that country. Third, were water boarding and other enhanced methods of interrogation actually useful in obtaining the information that led to OBL? Fourth, what a risky decision to go into Pakistan without their approval? Any film that gets your mind working on so many levels is a success. The film plods at some points but actually keeps its edge when the attack occurs on the compound. Another accomplishment and a mystery to me as to why Bigelow was not nominated for Best Director. As for nominations, Chastain is never given enough freedom in her role to be the winner for Best Actress. She does not talk enough to come close to Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook". A first detailed look into the hunt for OBL and a well done one at that. Expand
  80. Jan 20, 2013
    Excellent, and the audience I was in even clapped at the end. Yes, it does have about 20 minutes more than is usually good for moving the movie along but it is definintely worth the wait. Liberals will really hate this movie because it doesn't paint the world as they utopia they want to live in. I am surprised Hollywood let this one out; of course it doesn't stand a chance to win awards because it isn't about social justice but real evil in the world. Expand
  81. Jan 15, 2013
    Not the greatest film ever, but despite the extremely drawn out nature of it and the sometimes slow dialogue sequences, it captivated me quite a bit. One of the biggest problems is that it does what The Dark Knight Rises did times ten, being that the time table of the movie is spread out to a ridiculous level, so much so that it feels like the first 2/3rds of the movie, which would be nearly two hours, feels like it simply glosses over various past events and doesn't really get anything done. And that's the point. But it wasn't perfectly executed. Meanwhile, the last third of the movie is very closely strung together, the final scene being nearly thirty minutes long. This was a great scene, but the change felt inconsistent. One more complaint - the characters weren't very interesting nor was it easy to care about them - and it seems like they didn't really try with this, nor was it really the point. Maya, the main character, is fairly boring and feels two dimensional. The most interesting character is probably Dan, whose actor Jason Clarke does an excellent job being fearsome in the interrogation scenes. Overall I feel as though there are complaints to be had, but honestly I still really enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It's one of those movies that's more just a smart thriller that's made without much emotion in mind, and it does a good job with it in my opinion. Expand
  82. Jan 16, 2013
    Fantastic film. And if you don't believe it, my friend, this is how it's gonna go down. I'm going to hold you down, stuff a rag down your throat and pour water up your nose. You will like this film sooner or later. How soon is up to you.
  83. Jan 21, 2013
    Pretty damn good! Chastain did a very fine job with a strong supporting cast. We may not learn much more about Bin Laden and further details on Al-Qaeda, but we are served with satisfaction in the exhilarating final 30 minute raid. I knock this one down from perfect status only for it's places it slugs along only to be jazzed up with an explosion here and there. All in all, it's a fine film that will stick with you. Expand
  84. Jan 18, 2013
    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
  85. Feb 1, 2013
    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....^^
  86. Jan 19, 2013
    I feel like a lot of people went into this thinking it was going to be some type of fast paced thrill ride like its predecessor, Hurt Locker, or its Oscar competitor, Argo, so when it was a 2.5 hr story that had little no action it people were in a word, disappointed. This is in large part the fault of the marketing team, who made it out to be something that it wasn't. Not to mention its emphasis on the use of torture by the CIA operatives which bothered so many. So all the 0 reviews are rather misplaced in my opinion.

    Now to the film itself. From the standpoint of film making, there is little criticize about this. Bigelow's directing, Chastain's performance, the writing, all summed up to a fantastically made film. In my opinion, it should win Best Picture for 2012, but its not far and away better than Argo, Lincoln, or Silver Linings Playbook.

    All in all, Zero Dark Thirty is a fantastic film, all be it not as satisfying as the Hurt Locker, that should be appreciated for its display of artistic film making, acting, and story telling, rather than not being the action movie that the public thought it was.
  87. Feb 13, 2013
    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-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
  88. Feb 1, 2013
    Zero Dark Thirty was not the movie I expected. I went in expecting more of an international thriller involving the capture of Osama Bin Laden but the movie has much more of a crime drama feel to it. It's very slow and has almost no action whatsoever. That's not necessarily a bad thing it's just not what I expected based on the trailers for the film. I will also say this: The critics have highly overrated this film. Now don't get me wrong, I do not mean to make this review sound negative because I thought it was a really well made movie. The acting, especially by Jessica Chastain was superb. She's truly one of the best female actresses out there and I expect her to have many more leading roles in the near future. I also thought that the way the movie focused on her struggles to fight for her stance was well done. Lastly, I loved how the film ignored any political bias whatsoever. I was worried that there would be a slight liberal slant in the film and I didn't think there was any. With the way media is today, that was refreshing. The only negatives I had were that the ending wasn't done as well as it could've been and didn't feel like it fit with the tone of the movie. Also, the director decided to break up the movie into chapters for some reason and that was a terrible decision. The film flowed just fine without it but that added an episodic element that made a long movie feel even longer. Nonetheless, it was a good movie that was enjoyable, albeit long, to watch. Expand
  89. Jan 10, 2013
    Endlessly fascinating. For me the ambiance was like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with more powerful action scenes and a faster rhythm. We are lucky to have a master film maker produce a movie like this for now and for posterity. It is just so strong, so many excellent scenes filled with more and more and more information and emotion always moving forward to an end we all know but thru a process we did not. A must see for serious citizens and serious film lovers. Expand
  90. Jan 27, 2013
    It is unfortunate that the critics are fawning over such a mediocre and fictional film. The ending sequence is very exciting and well filmed, but the rest of the film claims, falsely, that torture provided information that located bin Laden. This claim is repeatedly refuted by the people that actually gathered the necessary intelligence. The Maya character is one-dimensional and poorly developed; we never learn what motivates her. In reality, Maya did not exist - the real "Maya" was actually several women who worked painstakingly for years, without torture, to get the necessary intelligence. Expand
  91. Jan 21, 2013
    The direction, cinematography, and editing are above reproach, and the film is riveting. But there is little for the mind here and less for the heart. Rather than a story about terrorism, it's a story about an obsessed female agent, and Ms. Chastain, however effective, is no Claire Danes.
  92. Jan 5, 2013
    Excellent movie that is likely closer to the real truth than the goverment and CIA would like you to believe. More thriller and less Expendables....but a must see nonetheless. An important movie.
  93. Jan 5, 2013
    The decade long search for Bin Laden concluded in 2011, and under, merely, two years a film comes around that attempt to portray these events in an uncompromising fashion. Zero Dark is surely the year's ultimate zeitgeist film and also a purely exceptional viewing experience. Kathryn Bigelow follows up The Hurt Locker with an equally riveting display of directing, while at the same time channeling herself through the movie's lead character Maya; a woman making good in a man's world. Jessica Chastain gives an utterly natural performance as the CIA officer, only known as Maya. She draws little attention to herself while at the same time being capable of holding the screen, which is a huge feat. Mark Boal Expand
  94. Jan 21, 2013
    I'll start off by saying that this movie should be considered an action documentary and nothing more. There is no character development, the plot randomly jumps forward in time, there is constantly new information being added, and the movie is rather long. That being said, it was highly entertaining.
  95. Jan 8, 2013
    A topic of discussion everyone is familiar with, the already known outcome, the dramatization of true events and mixing them altogether in a single film, Zero Dark Thirty is a good film if I look at it from the perspective of filmmaking only. However, it doesn't offer that much, it has no characterization whatsoever. The main character of the film is Maya (played by Jessica Chastain), a young CIA officer who has done nothing but spent her entire short career on Osama bin Laden. Now, I'm totally okay with that but her life, her character should have been supported by a backstory. There should have been several flashbacks as to why she joined CIA in the first place. I'm still okay if there aren't any flashbacks or her story, but her character seems unbelievable and uninspiring at times. She doesn't have any theory to prove why she is right, she just says she is right. And obviously, she is. It doesn't have to do anything with Chastain's performance, she has done a brilliant job and all the critic wins and potenial nominations in major awards are totally deserving for her.The real problem is how her character has been written by Mark Boal and how the entire screenplay of the film has been dealt with. The running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes and it really feels that long because the first half of the movie seems ridiculously boring and irritating. I expected the content of a different nature, the real and original content that has been kept away from the public for so many years, not the moulded one. The real truth about the September 11 attacks, all the suicide bombings and finally Osama bin Laden's killing. It felt like I was watching a documentary at times. Kathryn Bigelow still has been able to do her job pretty well, the direction of the film is somewhere in between good and excellent. And it cannot be ignored that when it comes to films like this, her vision and method of direction are way more than outstanding. Moving on to the screenplay, it is good but definitely not the best. The dialogues should have been more intense rather than simply showing the scenes incorporating torture that is a good way to escape when you know your writing isn't brilliant enough. Editing and the pacing of the film are kind of good but they don't feel balanced at times, there is not one way of pacing of the storyline, sometimes it gets fast and sometimes it gets so slow. The best things about this film are its last 30 minutes of operation which led to Osama bin Laden's killing; its background score which is pretty intense and proves to be more supportive than screenplay at times, Bigelow's direction (a little bit supported by Mark Boal's writing) and Jessica Chastain's performance which is downright astonishing. I can call Zero Dark Thirty a great film but it is not better than Bigelow's previous direction 'The Hurt Locker', which was more intense, which had plenty of jaw-dropping scenes and which had more characterization. Every major critic you see would be commenting that ZD30 would win the Best Picture Oscar. This fact is making it so overrated that it would fail to build upto a lot of people's expectations who haven't watched it yet. Same thing happened to me. I watched it with the expectation and the mindset that it is the best film of 2012 but it isn't, it is one of the best but not the ultimate best film. A lot of people are associating this movie with the fact that if they are Americans then they should obviously like this movie because it depicts what took America to finally kill bin Laden. If we are going to talk about it from that perspective then I can say that this movie is nothing but a false reality, how America hides the truth and only shows what it wants its public to see. There are a lot of theories about September 11 attacks and some of which are logical and actually make sense but still, people don't want to believe that because they are afraid of losing the so called trust in their government. OBL's killing is also blurry, nobody knows what really happened that day. The US government just made an announcement that they have killed bin Laden. If they actually killed him then why did they not show his face on the television? Anyway, this is not the topic of discussion here. The film should be taken as piece of entertainment rather than taking it as a piece of reality and the same goes to US Senate, ZD30 has given rise to a huge political controversy as according to the Senators, they don't torture anyone. They should also understand that the incorporation of dramatization and fiction is necessary to build up the tension and give rise to intense moments to keep the film interesting. The key conclusion is that this film could get all the major awards in Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards because of its genre, Bigelow's brilliant direction and Chastain's performance and which, to some extent, is reasonable but I don't think it should be winning the Best Picture but the chances are it will! Expand
  96. Jan 27, 2013
    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 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
  97. Jan 28, 2013
    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 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
  98. Jan 20, 2013
    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 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
  99. Feb 8, 2013
    With this movie I feel that they have forced out 2 long, boring hours in order to do a movie about one of Americas greatest achievements. There's was nothing special about this movie, just a large amount of pointless talking and meetings. I do not understand the large amount of positive reviews from critics. There may be some biased acclaims seeing as its a story all Americans are proud of, but I doubt this. All I can say is if you are ever going to see this movie, you may want to drink something a little stronger then soda Expand
  100. Jan 25, 2013
    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 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

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
    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
    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
    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.