Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2013


"Zero Dark Thirty" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen



After 9/11, the CIA is desperately searching for information about Osama bin Laden and anything that will help to prevent another terrorist attack.  Maya is a young CIA officer, recently out of high school, who is helping in the search.  From interrogating prisoners to listening in on phone calls, the search for information is continuous and often fruitless.  Leads turn into dead ends, informants lie, and she and her fellow US citizens are constantly under the threat of attack while in Pakistan.

As she continues her investigation, things only get harder after public pressure forces them to clamp down how they handle interrogations, making the search for information harder than ever.  Friends, and herself, are attacked by militants, but her determination keeps her looking down the path for anything to lead her to Osama bin Laden.  Her continual searching leads her to someone that he believes might be able to help lead them there, but only if she can determine his true identity, and if he is alive or dead.


  • Sony Pictures
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr, 37 Min
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke
  • Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Graphic
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes


The last movie from Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker, also focused on the US military in the Middle East, and was one of the most intense movies that I have ever watched.  Zero Dark Thirty is a bit more procedural and analytical than that film, but is still a riveting adventure.  Though we all know how it winds up, the process of getting there is one that takes a bit to get going, but becomes completely enthralling, giving you the all-encompassing feeling of taking over your life as it does for Maya.

Much has been made of the use of torture in the movie and the impact that might have, and the torture in there was far more overt than I expected it to be.  The first third of the film is almost dominated by scenes of it, showing the use of various techniques to extract information, though the usefulness of it isn’t really certain in the end.  I have no idea how accurate or inaccurate it is in its portrayal, but it certain is in there quite a bit.  The raid at the end on the bin Laden compound is incredibly tense and well executed, giving me a far better feeling for how that raid likely went down than I had from reading accounts of it after it happened.

Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen inside, the whole part is incredibly tense, and totally enthralling.  Zero Dark Thirty is a wonderful film, and one I’ll probably want to watch again sometime soon.


Beyond being a great film, Zero Dark Thirty is possibly the best looking disc I’ve ever watched at home.  Detail is just simply stunning, and fine hairs and everything else there to see, and not an issue I can find.  I found myself continually amazed at how great the picture looked, and it is certainly going to be the disc I turn to now to demo my home theater or for reviews.

The sound is also top notch.  From the ambient effects in a crowded market, to the concussive sound waves of a car bomb that is detonated, everything here is perfect.  Dialogue is clear and audible, and there is really nothing to fault here at all.  Tron Legacy might have a bit more bass for showing off your subwoofers in a demo, but Zero Dark Thirty has an audio track that will show off everything your home theater can do.


Four small featurettes as well as DVD and UltraViolet Copies.