Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden -- carried by Jessica Chastain as an obsessed CIA officer -- is brutal, tense and powerful.
Whether you call it well-informed speculative history, docudrama re-creation or 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 and Mark Boal's heavily researched successor to Oscar winner The Hurt Locker will be tough for some viewers to take, not only for its early scenes of torture but because of its denial of conventional emotionalism and non-gung ho approach to cathartic revenge-taking. Films touching on 9/11, including United 93, World Trade Center and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, have proved commercially toxic, and while this one has a "happy" ending, its rigorous, unsparing approach will inspire more enthusiasm among the hardcore film crowd than with the wider public.
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