• R, 2 hr. 37 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:    Kathryn Bigelow
  • In Theaters:    Jan 11, 2013 Wide
  • On DVD:    Mar 19, 2013
  • Columbia Pictures

Zero Dark Thirty Reviews

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Chris Sawin
Examiner.com
December 22, 2012

With a protagonist you lack the desire to root for and subject matter that's been shoved down our throats in the 11 years since 9/11, This is one of the only films this year where battling heavy eyelids is more exciting than the film itself.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/10
Vincent Mancini
FilmDrunk
January 11, 2013

This isn't a bad movie, it's just too easy. This is a movie for people who want to eat their fish without having to gut it first.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central
January 11, 2013

I was pretty upset that Bigelow got snubbed by the Academy.... until I actually SAW the film. It felt like a really good TV movie, but Jessica Chastain's phony and forced performance drags it down.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Jeffrey Lyles
Lyles' Movie Files
January 10, 2013

Bigelow isn't trying to entertain the audience, but I'm not sure what she wants us to take from the film as the end credits start.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
December 18, 2012

There's an emotional detachment to the film that undercuts its potency. Zero Dark Thirty is more technically proficient than emotionally involving.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
December 18, 2012

A clinical, single-minded revenge film that prioritizes technique over morality in the war on terrorism.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Betty Jo Tucker
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
January 14, 2013

After the lengthy torture scenes, procedural repetition takes over until the murkily-filmed Seal Team 6 raid. But Jessica Chastain is quite convincing as a CIA operative dedicated to her job.

James Plath
Movie Metropolis
March 14, 2013

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
January 11, 2013

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.

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Jules Brenner
Cinema Signals
February 9, 2013

The second half of the film IS the film.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Peter Canavese
Groucho Reviews
January 3, 2013

By most cinematic measures, Zero Dark Thirty is one of the best-made films of 2012. It also probably shouldn't exist. [Blu-ray]

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Tony Medley
Tolucan Times
December 23, 2012

The decision one has to make is whether it's worth sitting through the first two hours, that provide a fine antidote for insomnia, to see the final 37 minutes.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/10
Michelle Alexandria
Eclipse Magazine
January 11, 2013

Bigelow has hamstrung herself by not committing to a viewpoint. This is a by the numbers, cold, emotionally inert, just the "facts" procedural drama that is just barely a step above an episode of Law & Order.

Full Review | Original Score: C-
Richard von Busack
MetroActive
March 19, 2013

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic
December 14, 2012

By showing scenes of torture without taking any kind of moral (as opposed to tactical) stand on what we are seeing, Bigelow has made an amoral movie -- which is, I would argue, an unconscionable approach to this material.

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
December 19, 2012

Movies must move, and this one just lies there like a stack of paper from a classified government filing cabinet.

Christopher Tookey
Daily Mail [UK]
January 24, 2013

A silly, at times despicable film that never remotely deserved an Oscar nomination. Compared with this, Team America: World Police was a think piece.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Al Alexander
The Patriot Ledger
May 13, 2013

It provides a much needed catharsis for what was done to nearly 3,000 innocent Americans at the behest of a mass-murdering religious zealot.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Will Leitch
Deadspin
June 23, 2013

A historical timeline, a pulsating thriller, a moving character study and a true-life violent revenge story, all in one, told in a sweating, oppressive, strangling fashion.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Greg Evans
Bloomberg News
February 16, 2013

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."

Full Review | Original Score: *****
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