All Critics (242) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (227) | Rotten (17) | DVD (2)
What's striking is the absence of triumphalism -- Bigelow doesn't shy away from showing the victims shot down in cold blood in the compound -- and we come away with the overwhelming sense that this has been a grim, dark episode in our history.
This is an instant classic.
Chastain makes Maya as vivid as a bloodshot eye. Her porcelain skin, delicate features and feminine attire belie the steel within.
No doubt Zero Dark Thirty serves a function by airing America's dirty laundry about detainee and torture programs, but in its wake, there's a crying need for a compassionate Coming Home to counter its brutal Deer Hunter.
While "Zero Dark Thirty" may offer political and moral arguing points aplenty, as well as vicarious thrills,as a film it's simply too much of a passable thing.
From the very first scenes of Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow demonstrates why she is such a formidable filmmaker, as adept with human emotion as with visceral, pulse-quickening action.
Slathered in controversy, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty confidently and forcefully storms onto DVD with an admirable A/V transfer, only hindered by a paltry gathering of extras from Sony.
The direction by Kathryn Bigelow, who won Oscars for Best Film and Best Director in her previous film "The Hurt Locker," is fierce and focused...
Despite what those silly Oscars would have you believe, it was this movie, not Argo, that was the finest of 2012.
Indulges Cheneyian fantasies complete with the bad-movie scene of the prisoner's defiance: "You're just a garbage man in the corporation," shouts the Arab who needs a lesson in manners from the Ph.D. (in torture?) who is racking him.
Bigelow tells the story very well, very efficiently, but doesn't really say much about it, which is ironic given the response to the film in some quarters.
Kathryn Bigelow takes the procedural model and brushes away every unnecessary detail, leaving behind a heavy, blunt object of a film that is also hugely watchable, engrossing and, best of all... highly suspenseful.
Rotten Tomatoes notes that I agree with Tomatometer critics 80 percent of the time, but this is one of those times I have to part ways with them.
Bigelow has directed excellent movies before, but this deserves to be remembered as the film that established her as a master.
You can't deny that what Zero Dark Thirty sets out to do, it does excellently.
An exhilarating and compelling historical document worthy of praise.
Bigelow's latest proves a rewarding piece of filmmaking, one that, in its best moments at least, is as gripping and as troubling as anything the director's ever made.
Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal shape history -- those breaks, big and small, that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden -- into one of the finest fact-based thrillers since "All the President's Men."
Purely as cinematic exercise, Zero Dark Thirty is an exhilarating piece of work. But, beyond its for-the-times subject matter, the work does not linger whatsoever.
Zero Dark Thirty is interesting as opposed to enjoyable, intriguing as opposed to entertaining, and certainly less memorable than The Hurt Locker.
It's quite remarkable how Bigelow and Boal managed to take 12 years of information (including a conclusion that everyone knows) and packaged it into a coherent, intimate and intense movie.
We know the ending, yet remain mesmerized by familiar details, filmed with a harrowing sense of urgency. It's as close to being in the White House situation room that night, watching a closed-circuit broadcast, as anyone could expect.
The second half of the film IS the film.
Whereas Locker was less about war than what it is to have a death wish, ZDT is less about the suspenseful true-life search for Osama bin Laden than the red tape one woman must wade through to prove that a mean old bastard is living in suburban Pakistan.