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95

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

User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 863 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 222
  1. Dec 20, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Simply outstanding. Kathryn Bigelow, now that she's made the character-driven Hurt Locker and this phenomenally-paced thriller, has positioned herself as the dramatic chronicler of record in modern American warfare. No, she's not covering this stuff comprehensively, but the dramatic choices she makes, the slices she and her writers have focused on, so effectively tell the story of this era that I was thinking that we're lucky to have her as the credits of ZDT rolled. Chastain, the chameleon, is terrific in the film and will rightly be praised through the awards season. But I want to give special praise to Jason Clarke, who I've appreciated so thoroughly in Brotherhood and The Chicago code - he was an inspired casting choice. The enhanced interrogation sequences are technically no more difficult to watch than similar scenes in other films (most recently Safe House), but Clarke's ability to represent the interrogator's calculated pinballing between brutality and humanity is powerful. It's not a short movie, but I was riveted throughout. My audience gave the film a modest round of applause. I think they were more stunned by what they had just seen than anything else. Expand
  2. Mar 2, 2013
    10
    A film 10 years in the making had better be good, a concept I held with John Carter, a film 100 years in the making. Unfortunately John Carter was horrendous and let down its literary background. Zero Dark Thirty doesn't have the luxury of being a fictional story or being a story so old its original fans grand kids are in their sixties. It pretty much had to be excellent, didn't it? The film follows CIA analyst Maya (Jessica Chastain) in her search for Osama Bin Laden following 9/11. The film spans a decade in the search through two administrations, torture, tragedy and heartbreak. The answer to that question by the way is unequivocally yes. Zero Dark Thirty is a taut clever thriller with a devastating lead performance by Chastain. The film not only follows the hunt for Bin Laden but it also tells the tale of a woman so hell bent on one goal that it slowly but surely breaks her down. It's not just a search for justice, justice found through dubious means for that matter, but a film that looks at the psychological toll a search like this can have on those conducting it. It's a movie I found myself very involved in, a film which makes you want to yell at the screen (you will know what scene) and a film that will leave you gratified but also a little bit fried, which I can only imagine was the point, for the viewer to feel like Maya. Screenwriter Mark Boal and Director Katheryn Bigelow have created a unique thriller that is extremely guarded and insular while never lacking in substance. The cast is excellent with Chastain giving a career high performance. However she is also supported by other actors bringing their A game from Jennifer Ehle to Jason Clarke. Ehle plays well opposite Chastain as a straight laced analyst whose nativity doesn't really suit her job. Clarke is the most interesting character in the film, a very closed off torturer who begins to tire of the constant brutality. The characters are beautifully written and equally well acted. The direction ensures the tension never really stops throughout the film and it keeps your interest throughout making for an exceptional viewing experience. A worthy follow up to The Hurt Locker and worthy of all the Oscar praise it is receiving. Expand
  3. Nov 21, 2014
    9
    A political thriller that outshines the impressive "Argo". Kathryn Bigelow shows us why she is one of the best working directors in the world. The tears in Maya's eyes at in the last sequence of the film are just so hunting. Great Performance by Jessica Chastain Expand
  4. Jan 7, 2013
    8
    Bigelow ha vuelto ha hacerlo nos demostrado que una película bélica no solo se basa en tiros y cañonazos sino que una historia mas profunda se esconde detrás de éstas una historia de torturas, de dolor y de una obsesión incondicional por la victoria.
    la película me recuerda a decir verdad a la novela de Herman Melville, Moby Dick, siendo el capitán la agente Maya (excelentemente encarnada por Jessica Chastain) y la gran ballena blanca la persona que muy a nuestro pesar ha sido de las mas influyentes en la década pasada y en el inicio de ésta Osama Bin Laden
    Expand
  5. Feb 25, 2013
    6
    The biggest problem i had with this movie is it delivered exactly what I expected, there were no surprises and stayed too close to Director Kathryn Bigelow's masterpiece The Hurt Locker. Sure the acting was solid and there was all that gritty tension that so many reviewers fall for, but instead of falling over every plot development intent of what would happen next I found myself impatient to get to the inevitable end that one is waiting for. Expand
  6. 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. 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 222 User Reviews

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