The hunt for the world’s most wanted man ends at Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s dazzling drama ZERO DARK THIRTY doesn’t just recreate the hunt for the world’s most wanted man, it puts you inside it.

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Chastain is Maya in a mesmerising lead performance

ZERO DARK THIRTY started off with rave reviews when it premiered. Then it became controversial because of the torture scenes in the first 30 minutes – which, I think, don’t endorse its practice at all but simply show you it happened. Then it became a political debate – this last one may cost it the top prize at this year’s Oscars. Which would be a huge shame because, for me, it’s an absolutely superbly told story by director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal of the decade long search to capture the world’s most wanted man, a stunning piece of film-making and quite simply one of the films of the year. So there.

If you haven’t yet caught the movie, we’re taken on the darkest of journeys into the heart of terrorism and our guide is Maya, a CIA officer played by Jessica Chastain in a mesmerising central performance. We watch her develop step-by-step from a somewhat quiet, hesitant observer, to a straight-talking, absolutely no-nonsense tracker in the singular pursuit of her goal. And that goal is to capture (or kill) the terrorist and mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, Osama bin Laden. We also get to witness a superb supporting cast that includes Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler and in a breathtakingly brilliant cameo, the masterful James Gandolfini.

ZERO DARK THIRTY is now on DVD and Blu-ray, so if you didn’t see my original review on its cinema release, have a read. And if you want to see a taut, expertly crafted tale of obsession set against the backdrop of life or death world events, then do not miss it.