Zero Dark Thirty

"Excellent"

Zero Dark Thirty Review


Blistering writing, directing and acting hold us firmly in our seats as this procedural drama snakes its way to a riveting action finale. Although it's sometimes not easy to know whether director Bigelow and writer Boal are celebrating or criticising the way America has conducted itself on the world stage in its war on terrorism. Clearly the characters believe that these dodgy methods are essential tools in their job. But the film cleverly respects and challenges our own views on the issues.

The story begins with the events of 9/11, after which the CIA is determined to track down Osama bin Laden. Spearheading the search is tenacious analyst Maya (Chastain), who works with her colleague Dan (Clarke) to interrogate prisoners and mobilise their team (including Ehle and Perrineau) to action. Their bosses (Chandler and Strong), the CIA director (Gandolfini) and the national security advisor (Dillane) offer support and challenges. And eventually they get approval to illegally send a black-op team into bin Laden's suspected hide-out in Pakistan.

It's astonishing that Boal and Bigelow have managed to tell this true story without taking sides. They have been criticised for possibly using classified details or for depicting torture as an interrogation tool, but the facts can't be denied just because we don't like them. And your attitude going in will probably colour how you feel about the movie: some will find this a story of triumph while others will be troubled by the methods it depicts. Either way, it's impossible to ignore the film's urgency as it pulls us into a fascinating story.

All of the actors give restless, compelling performances that we can identify with. At the centre, Chastain lets us see her doubts and insecurities, even as she hides them from everyone else. Clarke and Ehle are also superb as cohorts whose tireless optimism is both inspirational and a bit worrying. As with The Hurt Locker, Boal and Bigelow fill every scene with telling character details that make each outrageous situation believably real. Their unquestioning, documentary-style approach may disturb audience members who have a compassionate worldview, but it also gets our minds spinning as it follows true believers who might be just as fanatical as the people they're pursuing. 

Rich Cline



Zero Dark Thirty

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 157 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2013

Box Office USA: $95.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $138.8M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: First Light Production, Columbia Pictures, Annapurna Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 236 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Mark Boal, Megan Ellison

Starring: as Maya, as Dan, as George, as Patrick - Squadron Team Leader, as Justin - DEVGRU, as Joseph Bradley, as Larry from Ground Branch, as Steve, as John, as Jessica, Ricky Sekhon as Osama Bin Laden, Reda Kateb as Ammar, as Jack, as Thomas, J.J. Kandel as J.J., as C.I.A. Director, as National Security Advisor, John Schwab as Deputy National Security Advisor, Martin Delaney as Assistant to National Security Advisor, as Jeremy, Jeff Mash as Deputy Director of C.I.A., as Jared - DEVGRU, as Saber - DEVGRU, Siaosi Fonua as Henry - DEVGRU, Phil Somerville as Phil - DEVGRU, as Nate - DEVGRU EOD, Mike Colter as Mike - DEVGRU, Jessica Collins as Debbie, as Squadron Commanding Officer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.