Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain

Director Kathryn Bigelow may want to start making room on her mantel for another possible Oscar.

Reviews for her follow-up to The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, are starting to pour in, and they certainly seem to back up all the buzz the film has been receiving lately.

So what exactly are critics saying? Read on!

"Zero Dark Thirty could well be the most impressive film Bigelow has made," writes Todd McCarthy at the Hollywood Reporter. "The film's power steadily and relentlessly builds over its course, to a point that is terrifically imposing and unshakable."

Over at Variety, Peter Debruge notes, "Far more ambitious than [Bigelow's] The Hurt Locker, yet nowhere near so trip-wire tense, this procedure-driven, decade-spanning docudrama nevertheless rivets for most of its running time by focusing on how one female CIA agent with a far-out hunch was instrumental in bringing down America's most wanted fugitive."

Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly says, "Once in a long while, a fresh-from-the-headlines movie—like All the President's Men or United 93—fuses journalism, procedural high drama, and the oxygenated atmosphere of a thriller into a new version of history written with lightning. Zero Dark that kind of movie."

Meanwhile, Manohla Dargis at the New York Times calls Zero Dark Thirty "the most important American fiction movie about Sept. 11, a landmark that would be more impressive if threre were more such films to choose from."

Dana Stevens at Slate insists it is "a vital, disturbing and necessary film" and Andrew O'Hehir of points out that the movie's "moral ambiguity will drive some viewers nuts, but in my view it is also the quality that makes Zero Dark Thirty something close to a masterpiece."

MSN Movies' Glenn Kenny states, "That the movie achieves its highly cerebral aim while still 'working' as a suspenseful fact-based procedural is what carries it into the realm of great cinema," adding: "As disturbing as it often is to watch, it's so rife with sheer cinematic material that it's likely to reward multiple viewings."

Zero Dark Thirty hits theaters Dec. 19.

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