Zero Dark Thirty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zero Dark Thirty Reviews

June 13, 2013
If you like World War II films, you'll enjoy this.
February 5, 2013
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.
January 15, 2013
This is an instant classic.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
January 11, 2013
Chastain makes Maya as vivid as a bloodshot eye. Her porcelain skin, delicate features and feminine attire belie the steel within.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 11, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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+
January 10, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 10, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 10, 2013
A timely and important reminder of the agonizing human price of zealotry.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 8, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 8, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/5
January 8, 2013
Bigelow's extensive staging of the May 1, 2011, raid is a prime example of virtuoso action filmmaking.
January 4, 2013
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 3, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 3, 2013
[It] isn't easy viewing - but just try to look away.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 3, 2013
[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.
| Original Score: 5/5
January 3, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 3, 2013
"Zero Dark Thirty" is a great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
January 3, 2013
Swift, smart, relentless, Zero Dark Thirty compresses a decade of high-stakes procedural into 157 minutes of pure momentum.
Full Review | Original Score: A
January 3, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
January 3, 2013
It's a movie made with the same coolly fanatical attention to craft the lead character displays in her work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
January 3, 2013
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.
January 2, 2013
A slam-bang action picture.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 20, 2012
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.
December 19, 2012
A powerful, morally complicated work on an urgent subject. It is a film that deserves-that almost demands-to be seen and argued over.
December 19, 2012
Movies must move, and this one just lies there like a stack of paper from a classified government filing cabinet.
December 19, 2012
[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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 18, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
December 18, 2012
This is not a triumphant story in [the] telling, but it is one uncommonly freighted with the weight of history.
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
December 18, 2012
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.
December 18, 2012
Even the smallest touches in Zero Dark Thirty feel authentic enough that we scarcely question them ...
December 18, 2012
A compelling contemporary thriller with the added benefit of also being an engrossing character study.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 18, 2012
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 | Original Score: A
December 18, 2012
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 | Original Score: 4/4
December 18, 2012
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 17, 2012
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 | Original Score: A
December 17, 2012
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 | Original Score: 5/5
December 17, 2012
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.
Read More | Original Score: 5/5
December 17, 2012
It combines ruthlessness and humanity in a manner that is paradoxical and disconcerting yet satisfying as art.
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+
December 14, 2012
'Zero Dark Thirty' is the best movie of 2012.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
December 14, 2012
A vital, disturbing, and necessary film ...
December 13, 2012
[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.
December 11, 2012
The details are gripping, presented with respect for an audience's intelligence.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
December 11, 2012
Bigelow and her screenwriter Mark Boal [operate] from the idea that doubt is dynamic, while moral certainty is just another kind of stasis.
December 10, 2012
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.
November 27, 2012
Bigelow's taut depiction of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden is a true movie of the moment.
Full Review | Original Score: A+
November 26, 2012
The ultra-professional result may be easier to respect than enjoy, but there's no denying its power.
November 26, 2012
This is movie journalism that snaps and stings, that purifies a decade's clamor and clutter into narrative clarity, with a salutary kick.
November 26, 2012
The story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden builds relentlessly to a powerful end result.