ZERO DARK THIRTY
Peter Debruge, Variety: Far more ambitious than "The Hurt Locker," yet nowhere near so tripwire-tense, this procedure-driven, decade-spanning docudrama nevertheless rivets for most of its running time by focusing on how one female CIA agent with a far-out hunch was instrumental in bringing down America's most wanted fugitive.
Roger Friedman, Showbiz 411: If anyone worried that Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden would be a political statement promoting Barack Obama they can relax. Bigelow and Mark Boal have made a very focused and harrowing thriller that centers on the real life female CIA agent who was obsessed with catching and killing bin Laden. Jessica Chastain leads a huge cast, and puts herself right into competition with Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook,” for Best Actress in a Drama.
Drew McWeeny, Hitfix: Over and over, the film dodges the easy version of a scene, and time after time, it pays off by making it feel real, observed, credible. We all have our fascinations, things that we obsess about, and for me, the American intelligence community has long been a subject I've immersed myself in, reading everything I can. Even so, I'm well aware that much of what intrigues me is what I can't read about, the nuts and bolts work of how intelligence is gathered, how it's sorted, how priorities are set. "Zero Dark Thirty" plays to the CIA-nerd in me, and in a way that films like James Bond and the Bourne series can't.
By David Poland, Movie City News: Bigelow & Boal are in a kind of sync that is rare in the history of cinema. Boal has raised the bar on the output of Bigelow’s master-level visual skill by giving her material to work with that is seriously challenging and meaningful. She’d make a great Bond movie, I suspect, but that was her earlier career. This is the stuff of Lean and Bolt. Of course, even that relationship had its misses. But this, the second movie for this duo, was ripe to be mediocre or even horrible. So there was enormous pressure to deliver… and in spite of that, they did.