Whether you call it well informed speculative history, docu-drama recreation or very stripped down suspense filmmaking, Zero Dark Thirty matches form and content to pretty terrific ends. A long-arc account of the search for Osama Bin Laden seen from the perspective of an almost insanely focused female CIA officer who never gives up the hunt until the prey ends up in a body bag.
Kathryn Bigelow’s and Mark Boal’s heavily researched successor to The Hurt Locker will be tough for some viewers to take, not only for its early scenes of torture, including water boarding, but due to its denial of conventional emotionalism and non-gung ho approach to cathartic revenge-taking.
Films touching on 9/11, such as United 93, World Trade Center, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, have proven commercially toxic, and while this one has a “happy” ending, its rigorous, unsparing approach will inspire genuine enthusiasm among the serious, hardcore film crowd more than with the wider public.
Read more: The Hollywood Reporter