Not dissimilar in places to Homeland, this film features a strong central female character, operating in a male dominated CIA. The film spends a lot of its initial 157 minutes chronicling the process of intelligence gathering, including torture, that lead to an eventual breakthrough in the decade search for Bin Laden. Along the way we see a CIA under pressure to deliver, but precious little in terms of character development or back story, which makes for a very un-involving first half.
It’s only after an intel break through – the chance discovery of one of Bin Laden’s couriers – that the film picks up, and delivers a tense and well directed action sequence, as we follow the Navy Seals final assalut on the compound. While there’s plenty of action, the film doesn’t lapse into all out action movie territory, and as you would expect from Katherine Bigelow, the film never descends into overt patriotism as America finally avenges itself for the horror of 9/11.