Zero Dark Thirty


2013 | 157 minutes | Rated R

While torture plays a prominent role in Zero Dark Thirty—as it did in reality—it's hardly the focus of the film, which begins and ends with tears, and crams an incredible amount into the nearly three hours in between. Focusing on a CIA intelligence officer known only as Maya, Zero seeps with the wounds of 9/11 and charges forward as its characters get ever closer to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. No one is sure if Bin Laden is in there, except the audience—and yet this does nothing to diminish the film's jarring intensity, which speaks volumes for Mark Boal's nuanced screenplay. Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow were granted extraordinary access to CIA officials while researching the film, and Bigelow colors everything in shades of gray. For all the stark chatter around the film, there's no black and white in Zero Dark Thirty—which means there isn't any victory, either. (ERIK HENRIKSEN)

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Film Credits
Kathryn Bigelow
Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Chris Pratt, Reda Kateb, James Gandolfini, Harold Perrineau, Jeremy Strong, Fares Fares, Yoav Levi, Scott Adkins, Fredric Lehne, Mark Duplass, Stephen Dillane, John Barrowman