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


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Zero Dark Thirty Reviews

David Thomson
The New Republic
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If you like World War II films, you'll enjoy this.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

June 13, 2013
Tom Charity
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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.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

February 5, 2013
Cath Clarke
Time Out
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This is an instant classic.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 5/5

January 15, 2013
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Chastain makes Maya as vivid as a bloodshot eye. Her porcelain skin, delicate features and feminine attire belie the steel within.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 4/4

January 11, 2013
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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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.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

January 11, 2013
Tom Long
Detroit News
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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 Source: Detroit News | Original Score: C+

January 11, 2013
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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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.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 4/4

January 10, 2013
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Unlike too many films these days, "Zero Dark Thirty" dares to embrace complexity. And that makes it not just state-of-the-art entertainment, but a great film.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 4/4

January 10, 2013
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A timely and important reminder of the agonizing human price of zealotry.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

January 10, 2013
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Not only is Zero Dark Thirty one of the year's best movies, it's an inspiring one to share with your daughters. That is, if they're old enough to deal with explicit torture scenes.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 4/4

January 8, 2013
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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What the film says about getting information from terrorism suspects in an era of high-tech surveillance depends on your point of view. What is unquestionable is how powerful its full scope is.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

January 8, 2013
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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Bigelow's extensive staging of the May 1, 2011, raid is a prime example of virtuoso action filmmaking.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

January 8, 2013
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Even more than The Hurt Locker, which sometimes relied on traditional film techniques to build suspense, Zero Dark Thirty resists manipulating the viewer or building movie-movie excitement.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 4, 2013
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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One of the most innovative and best made films of the past year. Every now and then, even Dick Cheney gets to like a great movie.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

January 3, 2013
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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[It] isn't easy viewing - but just try to look away.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 3, 2013
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
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[It's]a harrowing adventure behind the headlines that is at once a riveting procedural and, at the same time, a bracing political statement on the moral ambiguities of our war on terror.

Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com | Original Score: 5/5

January 3, 2013
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Its stance is extremely tricky. It's not a documentary. It's not a load of revenge nonsense. It's not "24." I'm still arguing with myself over parts of it.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

January 3, 2013
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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"Zero Dark Thirty" is a great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 5/5

January 3, 2013
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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Swift, smart, relentless, Zero Dark Thirty compresses a decade of high-stakes procedural into 157 minutes of pure momentum.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A

January 3, 2013
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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As a hugely compressed account of the Osama bin Laden manhunt, as a compelling but troubling look at "black ops" tradecraft, and as a riveting portrait of a fiercely determined woman working in a male-dominated sphere, the film is a resounding success.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 4/4

January 3, 2013
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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It's a movie made with the same coolly fanatical attention to craft the lead character displays in her work.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 4/4

January 3, 2013
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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At the very least Bigelow has widened her reach past the white-knuckle thrills of The Hurt Locker and into the darkest currents of American military might -- at the risk of being swept away.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

January 3, 2013
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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A slam-bang action picture.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

January 2, 2013
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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What it does in the course of telling a seminal story of our time is what contemporary films so rarely do, serve as brilliant provocation.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 20, 2012
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
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A powerful, morally complicated work on an urgent subject. It is a film that deserves-that almost demands-to be seen and argued over.

Full Review Source: The Atlantic

December 19, 2012
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Movies must move, and this one just lies there like a stack of paper from a classified government filing cabinet.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 19, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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[Chastain's performance has] a lot of colors, and angles, and is guaranteed to be remembered come awards time. Maya's a real character, all right.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 19, 2012
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Kathryn Bigelow proves herself once again to be a master of heightened realism and narrative drive in this retelling of the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 18, 2012
Bob Mondello
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This is not a triumphant story in [the] telling, but it is one uncommonly freighted with the weight of history.

Full Review Source: NPR

December 18, 2012
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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There's an emotional detachment to the film that undercuts its potency. Zero Dark Thirty is more technically proficient than emotionally involving.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 18, 2012
Alonso Duralde
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A movie that's going to part of the national discussion, both politically and artistically, and deservedly so. Whether you love it, hate it, or have mixed feelings, it's not to be ignored.

Full Review Source: TheWrap

December 18, 2012
Scott Foundas
Village Voice
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Even the smallest touches in Zero Dark Thirty feel authentic enough that we scarcely question them ...

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 18, 2012
James Berardinelli
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A compelling contemporary thriller with the added benefit of also being an engrossing character study.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 18, 2012
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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It's a film about revenge and its immense costs, different from a common vigilante story because of the target, not the arc.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: A

December 18, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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The knockout punch of the movie season is being delivered by Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain is a marvel, and Bigelow and Boal top their Oscar-winning work in The Hurt Locker.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 4/4

December 18, 2012
Rafer Guzman
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It mixes checkable facts with dramatic license, but "Zero Dark Thirty" has no overweening political agenda. Instead, it unfolds with the cool detachment of a documentary even in its most tense and gripping scenes.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 18, 2012
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Once in a long while, a fresh-from-the-headlines movie fuses journalism, procedural high drama, and the oxygenated atmosphere of a thriller into a new version of history written with lightning... [Zero Dark Thirty] is that kind of movie.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

December 17, 2012
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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As disturbing as it often is to watch, it's so rife with sheer cinematic material that it's likely to reward multiple viewings.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 5/5

December 17, 2012
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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The most important American fiction movie about Sept. 11, a landmark that would be more impressive if there were more such films to choose from.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 5/5

December 17, 2012
David Denby
New Yorker
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It combines ruthlessness and humanity in a manner that is paradoxical and disconcerting yet satisfying as art.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

December 17, 2012
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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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 Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: C+

December 14, 2012
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
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'Zero Dark Thirty' is the best movie of 2012.

Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com | Original Score: 5/5

December 14, 2012
Dana Stevens
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A vital, disturbing, and necessary film ...

Full Review Source: Slate

December 14, 2012
Andrew O'Hehir
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[Its] moral ambiguity will drive some viewers nuts, but in my view it is also the quality that makes "Zero Dark Thirty" something close to a masterpiece.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 13, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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The details are gripping, presented with respect for an audience's intelligence.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 5/5

December 11, 2012
Stephanie Zacharek
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Bigelow and her screenwriter Mark Boal [operate] from the idea that doubt is dynamic, while moral certainty is just another kind of stasis.

Full Review Source: Film.com

December 11, 2012
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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In its narrative arc, it is barely distinct from a boneheaded right-wing revenge picture, but the vibe is cool, brisk, grown-up, packed with impressively real-sounding intel jargon. And the hero is no gun-toting macho man.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

December 10, 2012
Peter Debruge
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The ultra-professional result may be easier to respect than enjoy, but there's no denying its power.

Full Review Source: Variety

November 26, 2012
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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This is movie journalism that snaps and stings, that purifies a decade's clamor and clutter into narrative clarity, with a salutary kick.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

November 26, 2012
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
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The story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden builds relentlessly to a powerful end result.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

November 26, 2012
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