Zero Dark Thirty

Featured In Issue 175, March 2013

3D Picture4.5
WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for strong language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Kathryn Bigelow
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Zero Dark Thirty is the living historical story of an elite team of intelligence operatives who tracked and ultimately located Osama bin Laden. For a decade, this elite team, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Based on firsthand accounts of actual events, which occurred over a decade and unfolds in several different countries. (Gary Reber)

Special features include four featurettes: No Small Feat (HD 03:51), The Compound (HD 09:25), Geared Up (HD 07:03), and Targeting Jessica Chastain (HD 05:19); and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture exhibits a dark, "guerrilla-filmmaking feel," but with a natural imaged portrayal of events in searing scenes that build to the hunt's climax. Photographed digitally with Arri Alexa Plus and M cameras, imagery is pristine throughout. The color palette is naturally hued with rich, warm tones and accurate fleshtones. Contrast is excellent and well balanced, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation, particularly noteworthy because key portions of the movie take place in the dead of a moonless night. Resolution is excellent, with imagery that is sharp and clear, and finer aspects revealing of nuances. Greig Fraser's cinematography is visually captivating. This is a hauntingly natural and realistic portrayal of the painfully and tenaciously slow progression of events. The imagery feels real! (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is well produced overall, with realistic
explosions and subtle low-level nuanced atmospherics and sound effects. During the most intensive segments the surrounds are aggressively directionalized and energized. The .1 LFE channel provides effective low-frequency energy to enhance the bass impact of explosions and other effects positioned throughout the soundfield. Alexandre Desplat's orchestral music score is haunting and nicely recorded, with an excellent dynamic range presence and solid bass foundation. The one flaw is the dialogue element, as the spatial integration is often poor, with a forward, chesty presence that does not relate well to the other sound effects and context of the scenes. Certain scenes faire far better in terms of spatial integration. Even with the dialogue deficiencies, this is a riveting sonic experience that provides a sense of unnerving realism. Zero Dark Thirty won an Oscar® for Sound Editing. (Gary Reber)