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4.1 out of 5 stars335
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 8 September 2015
Zero Dark Thirty is a tense and often heart pounding thriller in its basic form and a gut punching truly relevant political drama in its truest form. Based on true events surrounding the death of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, Zero Dark Thirty is simply stunning from start to finish.

At first this feels like a fairly standard modern war thriller but it quickly transcends this tropes to become a really poignant account of a real life event. Kathryn Bigelow masterfully produces a balanced account. It would be easy to vilify the Americans and equally it would have been easy, not to mention disastrous, to glorify it. The point is a terrorist organisation was bought to its knees through covert operations which in turn would have saved the lives of thousands.

It is tastefully filmed without ever being gratuitous and blends action with the political drams superbly so that it always keeps your interest without dragging.

Jessica Chastain is a marvel and is the perfect grounding point for the audience. You can’t help but support her every move and feel each and every moment she goes through. Her Mia is a determined head strong and intelligent woman who goes up against some tough opposition to push through her leads and her beliefs and ends up making a world changing decision. If it was not for her intuition then things would be very different now.

So on the surface it’s a fantastic political war thriller but it has so much depth and power it won’t fail to move you.
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on 19 February 2014
My first thought was that this film would be another Yank version of glorious action, heroics and John Wayne personalities. How wrong could I have been. It is tense, fairly accurate (given the obvious secrecy surrounding the subject - killing Bin Laden), it is very moving and surprise, surprise, lacks a hero of the dimension I was expecting. There are no heroes as such. It is a fast moving, almost documentary style film. It tackles contentious CIA interrogations, exposes difficult decision making by CIA Station Personnel and even Obama himself. Well acted throughout, although I used sub-titles to catch every quick fire piece of dialogue, the film is well made, moving at a rapid pace which holds the viewer almost trance-like to the story. It outlines the hard work put in by a female CIA Field Officer whose single minded pursuit of UBL, based upon her own personal interpretation of hard intel, takes her into a world of terrorist priorities, of a decade of failure by CIA - and others - to actually pin point the target's location and finds her struggling against that pressure to put forward her own, slightly off-piste, take on intel, persuading her Chiefs that her interpretation is right and that the final location of UBL has been determined as a result. However, the location cannot be 100% correct and the subsequent decision/chance taking by CIA Chiefs and even The President, with the huge associated risks of error/failure to successfully complete any incursion into foreign lands and take UBL, are extremely well replicated. This is a great film by any standards of modern filmaking and deserves to be seen by all. Excellent.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 December 2013
In case you don't know... Zero Dark Thirty is about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, after the 9/11 attacks on America. Maybe, over the years, we've been spoiled by James Bond into thinking that all spying involves gadgets and car chases. However, in reality, most spying is done from behind desks and listening. And, yes, that's certainly a bit boring in some people's eyes.

However, that could be seen - by some - as a failing of the film. It's about two and a half hours long and a lot of it is spent in offices watching people in suits arguing about budgets and how to spend them (hardly what we'd expect from superspies!). So, maybe if you're intending watching this, you should know that it's not `all action.' Plus there is a fair bit of human torture during the first half, so, if you don't have a strong stomach, you may not want to see how interrogations are taking place.

But, it does chronicle the hunt for the world's most wanted man pretty well. Even though (assuming you've watched the news) you probably know then ending, the final showdown is extremely tense and well filmed.

Plus there should be a special mention to Jessica Chastain who completely owns every scene that she's in. In fact... her performance is so strong that she effectively eclipses every other actor in this film, leaving everyone who isn't her as little more than an extra!

So, if you're interested in the subject matter, then this really is the film to watch on the hunt for Bin Laden - certainly worth a watch (although expect a `slow burner').
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on 1 June 2014
More of a documentary for three quarters of the movie turning into a movie for the last 20 minutes, scenes of torture are difficult to watch not a movie i would watch again
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on 1 September 2014
Saw this film on release at the cinema. Stunning film and directed by oscar winning K Bigelow (HURT LOCKER). Acting brilliant no over the top stuff here. BRILLIANT.
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on 21 November 2013
Bought this DVD more because of my frustrated attempts at trying to view this movie. The topic was arresting and I was always curious about how Bin Laden was taken, I am aware that all that is shown in this DVD may not be true, but there would be some semblance of truth in it. It lived up to its name as most of the movie was shot in very dark surroundings, making it difficult to clearly understand what was going on. But I suppose the seals were so committed to the aim of their mission, they knew what they were doing!
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on 3 April 2014
But it isnt remotely/clearly explained why the connection to BL and the courier is so certain after the passage of so many years.
After this when they track him hes driving a highly noticeable SUV when anonymity is his main craft......!!!
I think this is pure fiction.But the film is not without its moments and is well-made it could have been way way better with more imagination and much more time spent on the actual raid.....i dont really care about the accuracy or otherwise of the plot to real life..
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I think my biggest problem with this film is how long it is and also how long it takes to get going.

In a lot of films this is done to build dramatic tension but in this one I found it sadly lacking, at least for the first hour of this film. There is an event, a natural turning point after which the pace picks up, the last 30 mins or so are very good but I nearly didn't make it that far, I'm glad I held on.

I would have thought that you could have easily reduced the running time by about 20 mins and improving the timing somewhat.

The performances are OK but I can't really understand why Jessica Chastain was nominated for an Oscar for her role, then again I thought most of the nominations this year were a little poor.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2013
Even though you already know the outcome, Zero Dark Thirty still manages to be a very tense, very well acted thriller. Kathryn Bigelow who started off directing action films like Point Break and Blue Steel has turned political in the last few years and is now all of a sudden becoming recognized as one of the great directors in Hollywood as if The Hurt Locker was her debut and completely ignoring her other films. Starting off on September 11th 2001 with news footage of the Twin Towers bombings in New York and carrying on up to the commando mission which sees the death of Bin Laden and before anyone complains about spoilers this is the whole point of the movie how a group of American troops found out the location of Osama Bin Laden. Scenes of troops torturing prisoners for information come straight out of tv series 24 while Jessica Chastain who puts in an excellent performance her story about her obsession to kill Bin Laden does seem simmilar to tv series Homeland. Performances are all excellent but it's Jessica Chastain's movie all the way as the woman who brought down Bin Laden.
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on 1 October 2013
There have been a lot of negative reviews of Zero Dark Thirty (2012) based on the real-life hunt for Osama bin Laden and those involved in the terrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda against citizens of the USA and other countries. I have to agree that the storyline seems to lack excitement in what should have been an exciting movie but I don't think it's fair to rubbish it and possibly Kathryn Bigelow was trying to prevent the movie turning into one of those all too familiar gung-ho action/thrillers that seem to depart from reality with showers of explosions and buildings collapsing on a regular basis - not to mention car chases. While I admit I know little about what went on following the 9/11 attacks, I can well imagine that it took a lot of tedious investigation and frustration to obtain results; after all, they were dealing with fanatical and religious people who were willing to sacrifice themselves while bombing their victims, not people who would readily sell-out their grannies for a fiver.

Anyway, what do I know about it all except that I thought the movie was pretty decent - it came up to my expectations because I was expecting it to be more drama than action/thriller and so I wasn't disappointed. As for the torture scenes, they were no worse than you would see in many an action movie including James Bond movies.

I have no idea how much 'artistic license' was used in the making of Zero Dark Thirty (2012) but I thought Kathryn Bigelow did a fair job of it. Even so, the Oscar that it won in the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony was for Best Achievement in Sound Editing. The Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year (2012) went to Argo, another controversial movie.

I watched Zero Dark Thirty (2012) by way of Blu-ray which I bought online from Amazon.UK. It also came with Ultraviolet. Although the image was fine and the sound great, I was a bit nonplussed as to why, when I inserted the disc, I would get someone speaking to me in French, telling me (I think) to select my language of choice! Also, the symbols relating to the options for the disc were unfamiliar and so it was all a bit of guess-work. There were a few extras with the Blu-ray; the usual stuff about the making of the movie, about the history behind it, about the director and the main character played by Jessica Chastain.

VJ - Movies and Books World
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