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 as Maya

ZERO DARK THIRTY started off with rave reviews when it premiered. Then it became controversial because of its torture scenes – which don’t endorse its practice but simply show it happened. Then it became a political debate – the last one maybe costing it the top prize at this year’s Oscars. But for me, it’s the 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.

We are 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, who we watch develop from quiet, hesitant observer, to straight-talking, absolutely no-nonsense tracker in singular pursuit of her goal, to capture (or kill) 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 James Gandolfini.

ZERO DARK THIRTY is now on DVD and Blu-ray, so if you didn’t read my original review or catch the film when it was on release and 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.