I got to see an advance screening of Zero Dark Thirty last week and was absolutely blown away. I was a big fan of writer Mark Boal and Katheryn Bigelow’s work on The Hurt Locker but even treating that as a prep course did little to prepare me for the edge-of-your-seat intensity of this film. The combination of smart, well-informed writing with thrilling, high-wire style filmmaking made for a breathtaking (at times literally) experience. The way they successfully tackled the extremely difficult task of bringing a fact-based story like this to life while still maintaining some objectivity and making it highly entertaining justifies the rare hyperbole – cinematic achievement. Jessica Chastain should be a lock for Best Actress and the rest of the capable cast deliver performances you don’t doubt for a second. Well, with the exception of Pete from The League (Mark Duplass) who took time off from hassling Andre about his fantasy line-up to lead some high level CIA meetings. That distraction aside, I have to say I couldn’t have been more impressed with this film and won’t be shocked to see it in the top slot on many year end lists. It’s rare that a news story of this magnitude gets such a smart treatment so close to it happening. Most filmmakers need at least a decade of hindsight before they’ll go anywhere near a story like this so hats off to Boal and Bigelow for having the balls to take it on and nail it. People that just want to watch a really exciting action movie with some of the best military capture scenes you’ll ever see won’t be disappointed either.