A winning ‘Zero’

From the very first scenes of “Zero Dark Thirty” (R, 157 minutes, Sony), director Kathryn Bigelow demonstrates why she is such a formidable filmmaker, as adept with human emotion as she is with visceral, pulse-quickening action.

An opening sequence consisting of a blank screen and an audio track of the anguished 911 calls of people caught in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, cuts unceremoniously to a squalid prison two years later, where a CIA official is torturing a detainee. This harrowing scene embroiled Bigelow and “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter Mark Boal in a political firestorm; they were accused of distorting the role torture played in locating Osama bin Laden. But during this sequence Bigelow establishes her command presence as a filmmaker.

Those looking for Monday-morning moralizing on the war on terror will be disappointed by “Zero Dark Thirty.” But anyone who appreciates movies at their most engrossing, taut and well-crafted will be rewarded by a film that makes a 10-year bureaucratic slog utterly riveting.

Washington Post


Also out Tuesday:

Movies: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “A Royal Affair,” “Rust and Bone,” “Bachelorette,” “The Other Son,” “Hellgate,” “The Hunt for Bin Laden,” “8,” “The Great Magician,” “The Big Picture,” “Hemel,” “Fatherland,” “Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child,” “Shadow People,” “Straight A’s,” “Time of My Life,” “24-Hour Love,” “Cyberstalker,” “Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People.”

TV: “Jersey Shore: The Uncensored Final Season” and “Chance in a Million Complete Collection.”

Blu-ray: “Badlands,” “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.”


Out Friday:

“Les Misérables,” “This Is 40.”