Zero Dark Thirty vs. The Hurt Locker



on 1/5/2013

These two films will inevitably be compared to each other, due to their subject matter and the fact that they're both from the Kathryn Bigelow/Mark Boal team. They're both good (but not quite great) movies that will likely be remembered as the definitive films on the War on Terror. Zero Dark Thirty is a lot more difficult to follow and has a more deliberate pace, but it is also more intelligent and just feels more...important. The Hurt Locker is the more visceral film; it has more tension and a lot more action (the Osama Bin Laden raid in Zero Dark Thirty is a bit of a letdown, actually). This is a tough, tough call since these two films almost seem like one movie, told in two parts. In the end, all I can say is flip a damn coin...

on 1/12/2013

As much as I liked Zero Dark Thirty, I would still call The Hurt Locker the slightly stronger work.


on 1/13/2013

I find it hard to believe that people love ZDT. for me, its just not that sort of film. its a film easier to admire than embrace. THL on the other hand is more concerned with character and emotion. ZDT is no doubt the more important film, but i find THL to be a lot more powerful and involving. i respect ZDT, from a distance.

on 1/29/2013

I'll take the side of people who love ZDT. To me, the plot is incredibly complex but not at all hard to follow. For a movie that you know how it ends, it speaks volumes that it can still grips your attention the entire way through. I agree with you all that it does have a greater sense of importance, and I also agree the raid was probably the weakest point of the movie. ZDT is a much better film, I think.

on 1/29/2013

Really liked 'em both...but I still gotta go with The Hurt Locker. We'll see what time says down the road though...

on 1/29/2013

I gotta go with The Hurt Locker. I love the writing for Zero Dark Thirty, but the performances in The Hurt Locker are top notch.

on 3/12/2013

I don't know what makes ZDT the more important work (what the hell does that even mean?), but I'll defer to whatever emotions people are using to defend that viewpoint. I definitely don't see how it's the more intelligent work. What makes it more intelligent than The Hurt Locker? It cracked me the fuck up when the locals in Pakistan start randomly speaking Arabic. Why weren't they speaking Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi or Pushtu even? Fuck, walking around in Pakistan you're more likely to hear spoken English than spoken Arabic in any form of conversation (recitation would be the exception here). Going in I actually expected the movie to be a little more bloody, morally dislikable and violent than it turned out to be. On the surface the film is probably undeserving of its controversy, but only on the surface. It is pretty matter of fact about the whole torture thing so Bigelow's bullshit about depiction and endorsement almost flies. Still, this film that claims to be rooted in historical truths is just a chain of events that starts out with torture and ends with the killing of a wanted man. From what I understand, that's misrepresentation. Did the CIA (and whatever other US establishment you can think of, including girl scouts) torture its captives post 9/11? Sure, and no doubt it did so pre 9/11 and no doubt the US (and every other morally bankrupt political power on this planet) will continue to do so for many years and wars and ops to come. Did said torture lead to the capture of OBL? Apparently not. I haven't read much (basically nothing, in fact) on the subject (because fuck reading, amirite? amirite?), but showing that despicable A led to desirable B when despicable A probably didn't lead to desirable B is kind of a sideways, softly uttered endorsement. Anyway, the fuck I give about the ethics of it is quite limited. I just know that the movie was too fucking long and not fucking entertaining enough to be anything above average. Average it is. The Hurt Locker was good though.

on 3/12/2013

Also "Muslims don't celebrate with cake!" Hah, what the fuck?

on 3/18/2013

Definitely ZDT. Hurt Locker was decent but considerably overblown, partly due to topicality and partly due to the interest surrounding Kathryn Bigelow's rise to become the first oscar-winning female director (her competition with her ex-husband not withstanding). Aside from that and a few exceptional sequences, I don't recall the narrative meshing well together. ZDT flows much better, never feels too long despite its length, has equally if not more interesting characters and is easily the more important film. One of the best of 2012 (deserved Best Picture and Best Director more than The Hurt Locker did in 2009), and definitely Bigelow's best work to date.

on 3/21/2013

ZDT is at a severe disadvantage because everyone knows how the story ends. The Hurt Locker is more character-driven, thus making it the better film. Bigelow was keen to use relative unknowns for the leads in THL, so the viewer is drawn in to find out who these guys are, what makes them tick, and how they react to the situations that they're placed in.

on 3/21/2013

Even though you already know the end to ZDT, the direction is precise and the performances are so great that you are still on the edge of your seat. The raid sequence alone should have given Bigelow a Best Direction nom.

on 3/31/2013

The Hurt Locker kept you in the action all the time. Obviously ZDT can't do that given the nature of the true story being told, but in film terms I enjoyed THL more. It was more of an achievement in film making in my opinion, it came out of nowhere.

on 4/2/2013

I fucking love both these movies. I'll give it to ZDT. Simply enthralling from beginning to end.

on 4/20/2013

Most of Zero Dark Thirty was a chore for me. The characters were painfully one-dimensional and the script that everyone else here is calling "intelligent" is really just loaded with unexplained acronyms and intelligence jargon. The raid was well-done and was on par with the intensity we've seen from Bigelow in The Hurt Locker. And while it's silly to look back and see all the controversy the torture elements caused, there's a really good case to be made that the first thirty or forty minutes could be cut without losing ANYTHING of value.


on 4/26/2013

The Hurt Locker is a far better film, imo. Zero Dark Thirty didn't get good until the planning of the raid. Not a bad movie, though.

on 4/26/2013

The Hurt Locker was exhilarating, and Zero Dark Thirty tiring. The Hurt Locker it is.

on 4/28/2013

Yeah, quite simply, Zero Dark Thirty is boring (and would be more so without Jessica Chastain) and The Hurt Locker is not.

on 7/14/2013

It's Zero Dark Thirty for me, much better performances and concepts. The climax of ZDT was one of the best and most thrilling segments I've ever seen it film, and it compensates for some of the unneeded footage it provides. The Hurt Locker is a great movie also, but I really loved the stylistic approach of Zero Dark Thirty a lot more.

on 9/15/2013

zero dark thirty

on 11/3/2013

Both are good and I really like Bigelow's work, but if I had to choose one to watch again, it would be The Hurt Locker. I found it much more involving and tense.

on 1/11/2014

Zero Dark Thirty

on 11/9/2014

Zero Dark Thirty by far

on 9/12/2015

It was a bit hard to follow zero dark thirty.So many character's names and whereabouts well you know..... and it was a bit boring too in the middle portions,but Jessica Chastin was great in the movie.Zero dark thirty was a better directed movie too compared to hurt locker IMO.But I enjoyed Hurt locker more.And so it gets the win here

on 9/12/2015

Zero Dark Thirty

on 3/15/2017

Kathryn Bigelow's almost indisputable two best films. An incredibly close call, but overall I have to give the edge to The Hurt Locker's consistent tension over Zero Dark Thirty's slow burn.

on 1/1/2019

Hurt Locker is overall the better film. The last 30 minutes of Zero Dark Thirty is amazing, but the 2 hours it takes to get there are brutal.