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95

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 830 Ratings

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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: Steven Rea
    Jan 3, 2013
    100
    A monumental achievement that documents a coordinated and complicated response to a monumental tragedy.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Nov 27, 2012
    100
    The film's power steadily and relentlessly builds over its long course, to a point that is terrifically imposing and unshakable.
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 9, 2013
    100
    The last thing we see in Zero Dark Thirty is Maya's face and it is also ours, silently crying tears of reflection.
  5. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 14, 2012
    90
    It's only at the very beginning and the very end that Zero Dark Thirty functions (brilliantly) as a ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller. Much of the rest of the time, it's a workplace drama about a woman so good at her job that most of her colleagues think she's crazy.
  6. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 10, 2013
    88
    Zero Dark Thirty, like the mission that inspired it, commands respect, admiration, even awe in places for the logistical nightmares that had to be overcome to get it done. But it's a hard movie to love.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 18, 2012
    50
    As a realistic political thriller about Americans in harm's way it is not half as suspenseful or entertaining as "Argo." We may never know the truth about how we found bin Laden, but I still believe what we do know makes a strong enough story on its own without Wonder Woman.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 219
  1. Dec 20, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers. 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. Collapse
  2. Feb 16, 2013
    10
    Zero dark thirty was a great experience for me, I really liked Joel's acting in the film. Even though the film is about the greatest manhunt in history which some people will thing is boring) the film has good pace, it picks up fast and it's a thriller documentary which leaves you hanging. From the exotic places to the nutty warfares, Zero Dark Thirty is a 10/10 movie for me. Expand
  3. Apr 18, 2014
    9
    A really good true story that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Acting was incredible, Jessica Chastain deserved the Oscar for best actress in my opinion for this role but didn't end up getting it. Still a greatly acted movie. It ran long but there were just the right amount of action and drama mixed in to keep you into it for the whole time. Expand
  4. Nov 28, 2013
    7
    A film that benefits from a well discussed and important event in the 21st century, but seems to be over-exaggerated due to Bigelow's early acclaim of 'Hurt Locker'. Jessica Chastain has a pragmatic eloquence in her role, that rarely a thriller possesses, and her humanity and normality is shown towards the end, but I will not spoil it. 'Zero Dark Thirty' is more pensive than most modern-day war thrillers, but, like most, suffer from clichéd emotions and lack of true understanding from most of the chatracters. Expand
  5. Feb 19, 2013
    6
    E’ vero: sono partito prevenuto. Non lo si dovrebbe fare, lo so, ma un film che narra la caccia e l’uccisione di Osama Bin Laden uscito a ridosso delle elezioni negli Stati Uniti (per quanto io abbia tifato Obama) qualche cattivo pensiero lo suscita. La visione non smentisce i sospetti, anche se le qualità cinematografiche della pellicola consentono per un lunghissimo tempo di passarci sopra. Dopo un prologo con le voci dell’undici settembre, l’agente della CIA Maya cui Jessica Chastain offre un’interpretazione monolitica in cui le emozioni faticano a filtrare a parte la bella scena finale viene catapultata sul ‘fronte orientale’ e, grazie a un’intuzione, trova fra l’immensa mole di dati e di piste il bandolo della matassa che conduce al nemico pubblico numero uno. Ovviamente, all’inizio nessuno le dà retta ed solo grazie a una cocciuta testardaggine, ai limiti dell’ossessione, che l’Agenzia si decide a seguire le sue indicazioni: si deve però muovere il direttore in persona James Gandolfini in una parte piccola ma efficace. Lo sviluppo dell’investigazione narrato in circa due ore in cui dominano i caratteri del cinema di spionaggio, tra false piste, errori fatali ci va di mezzo la Jessica di Jennifer Ehle, assai più empatica della protagonista tanta pazienza e un pizzico di inevitabile corruzione. La sceneggiatura di Mark Boal procede attraverso una serie di capitoletti, in apparenza poco legati fra loro ma che consentono uno spostamento progressivo che avvicina sempre più al bersaglio: Bigelow inquadra il tutto in maniera fredda, quasi documentaristica, ma le belle scene di colorata vita quotidiana in Pakistan non evitano la rigida divisione fra buoni e cattivi. In tutto questo si inserisce anche una questione troppo presto abbandonata: presenti quasi solo nel segmento iniziale quindi riferite alla prima metà dello scorso decennio le scene di tortura sono brutali, ma la condanna non proprio chiarissima, lasciando la non gradevolissima impressione che le sevizie, pur non essendo una bella cosa, a volte, servano. In esse si distingue l’agente Dan impersonato da un bravo Jason Clarke, che dà vita a un personaggio interessante diviso com’è tra bisogno di normalità e compiti violenti. Finito il suo lavoro e tornato a casa, però, sparisce quasi dal radar: uno dei pregi del film il fatto che il punto di vista e il motore della storia siano prettamente femminili, ma a volte questo ha come conseguenza l’eclissarsi delle figure maschili. Dopo centoventi minuti di robusto intrigo internazionale –che non spiegano i peana della critica e le nomination multiple, ma sanno comunque avvincere inizia la missione notturna destinata a stanare Bin Laden dalla sua casa-fortino: quasi tre quarti d’ora di visori a infrarossi, porte fatte saltare e colpi di grazia a corpi già cadaveri che sembrano non finire mai. A parte la bella sequenza del volo notturno in elicottero, per il resto i tempi potevano venir tranquillamente dimezzati senza perdita di informazioni e con un notevole guadagno di ritmo narrativo. Qualcuno, forse appassionato di tattiche di commando, considera questa la parte migliore del film, ma per me finisce per danneggiarne il giudizio complessivo: ‘Zero dark thirty’ un buon lavoro, anche coraggioso nell’affrontare una materia ancora viva, ma che non riesce a essere all’altezza delle aspettative. Expand
  6. 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 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
  7. Aug 15, 2014
    0
    this movie is like trying to hold you back from getting osama, every annoying little thing that stopped people from catching him was conveyed before any action scenes are even showed, the whole movie stunk.
    I pray for the immediate victims of 911, and the innocent victims of the aftermath and the wars caused as a result.

    that being said... ... ... This movie is boring, men are not portrayed as men in this movie they are all mice, I mean the guys in the movie are all like wimpy, and stereo typical, not all men act like that, but in the movie like 99% do. I hate the way it was directed the camera shakes all over the place at bits, and they make osama out to be a vampire or something...
    [no that does not happen in the movie that would be entertaining]
    this movie is garbage it is not a war movie it is a bad documentary made into a movie that bores you.

    in the commercials for this movie they show all the action bits and the scarf wearing secret agents with [aka47 looking guns], doing gangster style hip hop walking to their enemy just stupid looking.

    Man I like war movies so if thats what you are looking for watch the lone surviver or saving private ryan, cause this movie is more about watching a geeky woman and stereo typical dumb hillbilly men with guns. we don't want to be bored out of our minds we just want to see an action movie which is what was promised in many of the movie trailers don't fall for it, Its only like a few minutes of the movies ending thats even worth a mention and even then not worth it.
    Expand

See all 219 User Reviews

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