Zero Dark Thirty, the recently released thriller, is based on the hunt for and assassination of Osama Bin Laden. The film's December 19 limited release brought in $124,848 making the film the highest limited release opening ever.
Director and producer Kathryn Bigelow told Entertainment Weekly that the film’s name is, “a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade long mission.”
The film once again combines the talents of Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal, whose previous collaboration on The Hurt Locker produced a total of six Academy Awards, one for Best Picture. More historically, with The Hurt Locker, Bigelow became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for Best Director.
Speculation is already high that this latest gritty military thriller may once again score her the top industry prize. In anticipation of this most influential woman once again making film history, PolicyMic has complied a primer for you of the essential Bigelow cannon.
1. Near Dark (1987)
This cult classic, vampire-western put the young Bigelow on the critical radar back in 1987 and ushered in a new era of serious horror stories. 1994’s epic Interview With a Vampire owes a debt to the subversive director for bringing gothic back from the campy ghetto.
2. Point Break (1991)
An undercover rookie FBI agent (Keanu Reeves) befriends surf gang leaver (Patrick Swayze) to bring down crime and catch once-in-a-lifetime waves. Another film with a rabid cult following, Bigelow this time lends gravitas to a beach bimbo tale, and proves humor, action, and philosophy are not incompatible.
3. Strange Days (1995)
This strange and beautiful film also made history when Bigelow became the first woman to win the Saturn Award for Best Director for it. Dealing with a murder on the edge of the millennium, the film captures the fear and uncertainty of a former FBI agent with a terrible secret (Ralph Fiennes), and by extension, a society careering into modernity.
Bigelow once again gave artistic credibility to an understimated genre, science fiction, that has since produced critical darlings like The Adjustment Bureau and Cloud Atlas.