All Critics (108) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (101) | Rotten (7)
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.
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.
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.
"Zero Dark Thirty" is a great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.
Swift, smart, relentless, Zero Dark Thirty compresses a decade of high-stakes procedural into 157 minutes of pure momentum.
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.
A grade-A, needle-meet-haystack manhunt-thriller
Reminds us of a cop show, only without the Miranda rights.
A fictional account that honors the essence of the lengthy, painstaking, fitful, deadly process to find and to kill the terrorist leader.
The suspense comes not from how we ultimately bring down bin Laden, but how Maya - and what remains of America's fraying do-gooder conscience - fares in the process.
[It] isn't easy viewing - but just try to look away.
It's first-rate work from Bigelow and Boal, who treat the tale with conviction and knowledge, yet never lose sight of its inherent alarm, packaging a combustible narrative into one of the best pictures of 2012.
[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.
It's cinema as an extension of long-form journalism, an intriguing and exciting story even though we know exactly how it's going to end.
That kind of ambition should be applauded, even if the movie as a whole never quite clears the very high bar it sets for itself.
By most cinematic measures, Zero Dark Thirty is one of the best-made films of 2012. It also probably shouldn't exist.
When you hear boots marching up your stairs, that guy who whispers "Osama, Osama" - It's not because you need to sign for a UPS package!