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Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty

3.5 4
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez


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Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the Academy Award-winning duo behind The Hurt Locker, reteam for this drama detailing the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which stars Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as the intelligence expert who dedicated a decade of her life to tracking down


Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the Academy Award-winning duo behind The Hurt Locker, reteam for this drama detailing the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which stars Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as the intelligence expert who dedicated a decade of her life to tracking down the world's most wanted terrorist. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA began interrogating suspected Al Qaeda agents across the globe in a bid to locate the elusive bin Laden. Upon arriving at a CIA black site and witnessing the brutal interrogation tactics firsthand, driven operative Maya (Chastain) aids her unpredictable colleague Dan (Jason Clarke) in gathering the intelligence that will help bring their target to justice. Over the course of the next decade, numerous false leads and dead ends make the search seem more futile than ever. Meanwhile, numerous suicide bombings across the Middle East and Europe hint that Al Qaeda won't go down without a fight. Then, just when it seems as if the trail of clues has finally dried up, an old piece of evidence leads Maya to a suspect who may work directly for the man charged with planning the worst act of terrorism ever committed on American soil. Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, and James Gandolfini co-star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Nearly a decade after the Twin Towers were destroyed by a terrorist plot, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty attempts to directly address how the country as a whole responded to that horrific event. That kind of ambition should be applauded, even if the movie as a whole never quite clears the very high bar it sets for itself. At the center of this procedural about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is Maya (Jessica Chastain), an intelligence expert whom another character describes early on as "a killer." The picture opens with her at a secret enhanced-interrogation center, where she watches as Dan (Jason Clarke), a master at exerting physical and psychological pressure on captives, applies his skills to a detainee who might have the name of a courier with access to bin Laden. The graphic depictions of accepted U.S. interrogation techniques -- what many would define as torture -- during this extended sequence force audiences to consider what was arguably the ugliest part of American policy during the presidency of George W. Bush. Make no mistake, the movie certainly takes a stand on the repercussions of this issue through the character of Dan, who is the only person we meet with any second thoughts about what he's doing. His one-sided conversation with some test monkeys is one of the most humane things in the film and offers a prime example of Zero Dark Thirty at its best. However, that turns out to be just a small fragment of what the picture aims to do. Instead, the main focus is on Maya as she slowly gathers clues and butts heads with higher-ups who, for political or personal reasons, don't want to let this driven woman accomplish her goal. When she finally feels she has a solid lead on bin Laden's actual whereabouts, she convinces the military to strike with an elite force. That raid makes up the last 30 minutes of the movie and it's a technical marvel, as are the other infrequent action sequences sprinkled throughout the long, talk-filled passages. They confirm that Bigelow remains one of the finest action directors working today, but the finale also clearly reveals the film's biggest flaw, namely screenwriter Mark Boal's inability to make any of the characters three-dimensional. We see appealing actors such as Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt playing members of the squadron who get the job done, but the script doesn't give any of them a real identity, so we aren't invested in their survival. The lack of a personal connection to the troops is missed all the more because we already know the mission will be a success. That propensity for flat, two-dimensional characters -- even when they're played by inherently likable actors -- keeps us at a distance. The most obvious example of this is right at the center of it all. Maya doesn't exist outside of her unyielding goal of finding and stopping bin Laden. She has no personal life, and until the final shot of the movie, we're unsure if she has much of an inner life, either. That decision keeps the film from exploring the larger question it raises: Maya -- a fictional composite of different analysts and field agents -- is supposed to represent the country as a whole, but she's too narrow a character for that purpose. She's meant to be a blank slate on whom we can project our own fears, frustrations, and need for vengeance, but she's so focused on her one and only goal that it's difficult to connect with her, no matter how forceful Chastain is in the part. Bigelow's previous movie The Hurt Locker was revered because it was an expert example of building character through action. We understood the limits and talents of the main character because of what he did. Zero Dark Thirty is more about talk and making explicit points about how changes in the U.S. government and tactics had more to do with the killing of bin Laden than techniques used earlier in the War on Terror. We know Jeremy Renner's character inside and out at the end of The Hurt Locker, but in this movie we aren't left with a better understanding of Maya as a person or the country as a whole.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

No Small Feat-Making Zero Dark Thirty; The Compound-Tour The Film's Rebuilt Compound; Geared Up-Watch The Cast Train With Authentic SEAL Gear; Targeting Jessica Chastain-A Look At The Role Of Maya

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joel Edgerton Patrick - Squadron Team Leader
Jessica Chastain Maya
Edgar Ramirez Larry From Ground Branch
Kyle Chandler Joseph Bradley
Mark Strong George
Chris Pratt Justin - DEVGRU
James Gandolfini CIA Director
Jason Clarke Dan
Fares Fares Hakim
Frank Grillo Squadron Commanding Officer
Jennifer Ehle Jessica
Nash Edgerton Nate - DEVGRU EOD
Harold Perrineau Jack
Reda Kateb Ammar
Jeremy Strong Thomas
J.J. Kandell J.J.
Wahab Sheikh Detainee on Monitor
Alexander Karim Detainee on Monitor
Nabil Elouahabi Detainee on Monitor
Aymen Hamdouchi Detainee on Monitor
Simon Abkarian Detainee on Monitor
Ali Marhyar Interrogator on Monitor
Parker Sawyers Interrogator on Monitor
Akin Gazi Interrogator on Monitor
Derek Siow Interrogator on Monitor
Mohammad K. Cargo Ship Detainee
Henry Garrett Bagram Guard
Homayoun Ershadi Hassan Ghul
Darshan Aulakh Pakistani Detention Center Guard
Navdeep Singh Faraj Courier
Yoav Levi Abu Faraj Al-Libbi
Sukhdeep Singh Pakistani Guard at Marriott
Musa Sattari Humam Khalil Al-Balawi
David Menkin Case Officer
Scott Adkins John
Eyad Zoubi Zied
Julian Lewis Jones Blackwater Guard
Christian Contreras CIA Security
Lauren Shaw Lauren
Zachary Becker Embassy Tech
John Antonini George
Jessica Collins Debbie
Fredric Lehne The Wolf
Ashraf Telfah Kuwaiti Businessman
Jonathan Olley Tech from Ground Branch
Ben Lambert N.S.A. Tech
Manraaj Singh Rawal Caller
Tushaar Mehra Abu Ahmed
Daniel Lapaine Tim - Station Chief
Udayan Baijal Guard at Maya's Apartment
Mark Duplass Steve
Stephen Dillane National Security Advisor
John Schwab Deputy National Security Advisor
Martin Delaney Assistant to National Security Advisor
Nabil Koni Pakistani Doctor
Antony Edridge General in Hangar
John Barrowman Jeremy
Jeff Mash Deputy Director of C.I.A.
Taylor Kinney Jared - DEVGRU
Callan Mulvey Saber - DEVGRU
Siaosi Fonua Henry - DEVGRU
Phil Somerville Phil - DEVGRU
Mike Colter Mike - DEVGRU
Brett Praed DEVGRU Operator
Aron Eastwood DEVGRU Operator
Heemi Browstow DEVGRU Operator
Chris Scarf DEVGRU Operator
Barrie Rice DEVGRU Operator
Rob Young DEVGRU Operator
Spencer Coursen DEVGRU Operator
Chris Perry DEVGRU Operator
Alex Corbet Burcher DEVGRU Operator
Robert Eastman DEVGRU Operator
Tim Martin DEVGRU Operator
Mitchell Hall DEVGRU Operator
P.T. DEVGRU Operator
Alan Pietruszewski Pilot
Kevin LaRosa Pilot
Michael David Selig Pilot
Benjamin John Parillo Pilot
Christopher Stanley Admiral Bill McCraven
Hadeel Shqair Abu Ahmed's Wife
Noureddine Hajjoujou Abrar
Nour Alkawaja Abrar's Wife
Malika Sayed UBL Wife
Rida Siham UBL Wife
Moula Mounia UBL Wife
Zalfa Seurat UBL Wife
Tarik Haddouch Khalid
Ricky Sekhon OBL
Mark Valley C-130 Pilot
Alexandre Desplat Conductor

Technical Credits
Kathryn Bigelow Director,Producer
Ray Beckett Sound Mixer
Mark Bennett Casting
John Bissell Musical Direction/Supervision
Mark Boal Producer,Screenwriter
Matthew Budman Co-producer
Ben Collins Art Director
Alexandre Desplat Score Composer
Megan Ellison Producer
Greig Fraser Cinematographer
William C. Goldenberg Editor
Richard Hicks Casting
Jeremy Hindle Production Designer
Jonathan Leven Co-producer
George Little Costumes/Costume Designer
Natasha Nikolic-Dunlop Makeup
Paul N.J. Ottosson Sound/Sound Designer
Ted Schipper Executive Producer
Greg Shapiro Executive Producer
Richard Stutsman Special Effects Supervisor
Dylan Tichenor Editor
David A. Ticotin Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Colin Wilson Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Zero Dark Thirty
1. Chapter 1 [9:50]
2. Chapter 2 [5:52]
3. Chapter 3 [7:22]
4. Chapter 4 [8:17]
5. Chapter 5 [10:11]
6. Chapter 6 [8:52]
7. Chapter 7 [13:40]
8. Chapter 8 [9:26]
9. Chapter 9 [6:50]
10. Chapter 10 [13:37]
11. Chapter 11 [2:20]
12. Chapter 12 [10:19]
13. Chapter 13 [6:30]
14. Chapter 14 [9:19]
15. Chapter 15 [11:30]
16. Chapter 16 [8:25]
17. Chapter 17 [14:23]


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Zero Dark Thirty 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite 9 months ago
That was interesting. Performances were good. Also a lot of familiar faces amongst the cast.
WHITEY13 More than 1 year ago
Very engaging film, although a little tough to watch some of the torture scenes. The film is very well paced and includes plenty of action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zero Dark Thirty Movie Review Zero Dark Thirty was a film that focuses on the intelligence and the SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s compound. This film goes into detail regarding the CIA intelligence agents researching and finding Bin Laden. This movie nearly follows the same storyline as Peter Bergen’s Manhunt the Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad and Mark Owen’s No Easy Day, both of these authors are credible sources. This movie has great acting from Maya, the CIA intelligence agent to the Navy SEALs to the terrorists. This movie also has great special effects and the story was written well by Mark Boal. Bigelow and Boal were a superb duo as a director and writer in this film. Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero Dark Thirty, does a great job portraying the greatest military operation in the history of the United States military. Every aspect of this movie was spot-on from the historical accuracy to the directing. The cast of Zero Dark Thirty was a perfect fit in this movie. The special effects in this movie were superb. The car bombs, truck bombs, and explosions almost seemed to be a great add-on in this movie. One specific scene in this movie that stood out was Maya and her friend, Jessica, played by Jennifer Ehle were in a Mariott Hotel in Pakistan having dinner. All of the sudden, a truck bomb went off outside the hotel, creating a massive crater and explosion. The camera view was placed inside the hotel and in the restaurant where Maya and Jessica were eating. The bomb went off, an explosion happened and Maya and Jessica were thrown from one side of the room to the other. This scene stood out because the cinematography was spot on. Overall, Zero Dark Thirty was a spectacular movie with perfect casting, perfect writing, and perfect directing. Bigelow and Boal directed and wrote a movie that could go down in history as one of the greatest military dramas in the history of film. This film would score a 4.5/5 stars. The only reason why this film would not have received a five star rating is because this film has minute details that were different from the actual story.
Unknown6 More than 1 year ago
Travis Salley Professor Turner English 101-04 10 April 2013 Zero Dark Thirty Review Zero Dark Thirty starts off with four words across the screen, “based on true events” and yet the real events weren’t really the focal point of the cinematic experience. Zero Dark Thirty isn’t a quality film. There’s a lack of development within the actual people that played a real role within the actual mission. The main characters include executives and a woman that is somewhat of a spy and is showcased as the main character. From American perspectives of course there are men and women behind the scenes and the viewer’s know that however in war time we think of the men and women on the front line. Zero Dark Thirty is like making an epic poem a haiku, it lacks so much even though it gives enough but it gives off the wrong qualities to be taken seriously. The acting also wasn’t as good as it could’ve been, and the main entities too me (Navy SEALS) acting is terrible and only featured in short moments. Most of the film is looked down upon because a lot of information hasn’t been released besides the fact that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. It’s like the director is taking viewers into the actual timeline without any actual facts so who can say this is true or not without military officials speaking out? Possibly because of its basis of being nothing but research and no actual facts and first account information Zero Dark Thirty comes off as unpolished and clunky. It’s just a boring film until the actual point of the whole film is made and then that part is the shortest of it all. You’ll either love or hate this film but definitely don’t expect Saving Private Ryan here.