Those who protest the violence and brutality of the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty are apparently not familiar with the standards set by current splatter movies like the Saw series. Those who object to the subject itself may not be considering that the government does not deny using torture so much as it denies that it worked.
The fuss made about these issues is not worth the bother. But Zero Dark Thirty, as a whole, is worth a great deal of fuss as one of the best war movies ever made.
When the actual commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden finally comes up, it is as fine a bit of realism as you will find, even if it looks wonderfully like a sci-fi special effects fantasy-- and that's all I will say about that. Because most of the movie has more in common with All the President's Men than with, say, Black Hawk Down.
It doesn't fully tell the eight-year story of the search for bin Laden so much as it shows a number of terminal points in the search, and either fills in the gaps by way of dialogue or leaves us to assume, as we easily can, how the police procedurals we are shown somehow eventually produced results.
There is a lot of distressful stuff about that kind of boss who feels that if he screams at you enough he will have done his job and you will find a way to do yours. The closer Jessica Chastain gets to finding Osama bin Laden, the farther she gets away from the actual fields of action, but she never turns into such a boss herself. The suspense becomes almost unbearable. I was squirming in my seat.