Critic Reviews

95

Metascore

Based on 46 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Once in a long while, a fresh-from-the-headlines movie - like "All the President's Men" or "United 93" - fuses journalism, procedural high drama, and the oxygenated atmosphere of a thriller into a new version of history written with lightning. Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's meticulous and electrifying re-creation of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is that kind of movie.
100
One reason Boal makes such a potent combination with Bigelow is that her directing style moves us right along. She is so good with both action and creating a convincing look and feel for the film that the time it takes to get up to speed with the complicated plot does not feel like a problem.
100
Hang on tight. The knockout punch of the movie season is being delivered by Zero Dark Thirty.
100
Wall Street Journal
Judged solely as a film, a partially fictionalized account of the decade-long search for bin Laden, it's superbly crafted and relentlessly dramatic. More than that, though, Zero Dark Thirty is a shock to the system, one that's bound to incite discussion of profoundly troubling issues.
100
San Francisco Chronicle
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.
100
Philadelphia Inquirer
A monumental achievement that documents a coordinated and complicated response to a monumental tragedy.
100
The film's power steadily and relentlessly builds over its long course, to a point that is terrifically imposing and unshakable.
100
Like the fictional Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs,'' Maya is a consummate professional who brilliantly performs her job in an often hostile work environment.
95
Was the death of Osama bin Laden worth the moral price, the compromised ideals? The filmmakers could hardly avoid raising those questions, but they pointedly leave them for the audience to answer. This is not a triumphant story in their telling, but it is one uncommonly freighted with the weight of history.
90
Zero Dark Thirty makes you feel every step of Maya's journey, but it's her impressive achievement and that of the film itself that we're left contemplating, not her humanity - a stunningly well-realized whole with few soft spots to latch onto.
80
What finally sticks in the mind about "ZDT" is its precision. 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.
63
While this decade-long look at the inner workings of the CIA is intriguing, the movie would have benefited by more character development and additional editing.

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