25 January 2013 2:43 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Kathryn Bigelow's film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is only ever on the side of the home team

This movie, along with the TV series Homeland, makes me think we have a new American genre – war on terror procedurals. Black sites, Washington corridors, tense SUV rides through dangerous city streets in Pakistan, operation rooms containing corkboards packed with names and faces … this could be a regular new milieu for flawed, maverick, attractive young investigators. Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty is a key text: a spy drama about the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden, starring Jessica Chastain as the CIA agent Maya on a personal mission to nail America's Public Enemy No 1.

It is well made, with a relentless, dour drumbeat of tension and a great final sequence, but nowhere near as good as the first season of Homeland, whose troubled heroine Carrie resembles Maya in key particulars. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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