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Zero Dark Thirty

2012 (Kathryn Bigelow) 14A, 157 minutes

Jessica Chastain; Mark Strong; Joel Edgerton; Chris Pratt

Following up on her Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker," director Kathryn Bigelowproves herself once again to be a master of heightened realism and narrative drive in this retelling of the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden.

The film's concluding section — a crisp re-creation of the Navy SEAL assault on the Pakistani compound where the wily mastermind lived and died — has been much-publicized, and the film's depiction of torture has already become a tempest in a teapot. But those elements are both overshadowed by the performance of Jessica Chastain as the CIA operative who made the raid possible.

Here, Chastain plays Maya, a CIA officer who quite literally devotes every waking moment of her life to finding and destroying Bin Laden. Her single-minded ferocity and stubbornness not only prove essential in the hunt, but also make up the emotional through line that engages us in the story of "Zero Dark Thirty."

Kenneth Turan-LA Times

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