Two key reviews have emerged on the latest Kathryn Bigelow film, Zero Dark Thirty, which sounds gritty, immersive and exceptional. Because she and screenwriter Marc Boal were constantly dogged by the continual and ultimately ineffectual right wingers, they’ve had to eliminate all references to President Obama. Major props to Harvey Weinstein for making what was an Obama infomercial, or super PAC, with SEAL Team Six to counteract that ridiculous farce, Obama’s America 2016, but clearly Bigelow and Boal were going for a different kind of film. McCarthy:
As it has emerged instead, it could well be the most impressive film Bigelow has made, as well as possibly her most personal, as one keenly feels the drive of the filmmaker channeled through the intensity of Maya’s character. The film’s power steadily and relentlessly builds over its long course, to a point that is terrifically imposing and unshakable.
Chastain carries the film in a way she’s never been asked to do before. Denied the opportunity to provide psychological and emotional details for Maya, she nonetheless creates a character that proves indelible and deeply felt. The entire cast works in a realistic vein to fine effect.
Similarly, all the technical contributions are put at the service of full verisimilitude. Locations in Jordan and India fill in beautifully for Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
TIME’s Richard Corliss calls Zero Dark Thirty a “damn fine” film and closes out his review: