Before last night I had seen Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty four or five times. Okay, five, except now it’s six because around 10 pm I dove once more into Bigelow’s Olympic-sized pool, and man, it was beautiful.

Hard as nails, man…a tension opera, the real details, lean and mean, cinema verite, the confidence to “get there” in its own way, and when it does it pays off like a slot machine.

I believed every line, every scene, every frame.

Zero Dark Thirty is a great film for delivering a real drama (i.e., one disguised a a procedural) on its own terms and without going “Hollywood” except for one third-act line that includes the word “motherfucker.”

To me Zero Dark Thirty feels like dessert — like fresh strawberries and poundcake under a mound of Reddiwip.

Jessica Chastain gives one of the great hard-boiled performances of all time, and yet you can read her thoughts and feelings every inch of the way, clear as a bell.

When it first operned in late 2012 several Academy flabby-bellies complained thast Zero Dark Thirty was too cold or unemotional. This kind of “cold” and “unemotional” turns my spigots on like almost nothing else. Thank you, God, for giving me the genes and the luck and life experience that didn’t make me into one of them. Thank you for letting me see through to the nub and heart of things, and the ability to recognize the cinematic equivalents of the freshest, best prepared foods and the chemistry of Hostess Cupcakes.

It may not warm the cockles of your heart, but for me Zero Dark Thirty is Bigelow’s masterpiece. And big cheers in particular for Boal’s screenplay, which nails right through and hones it all down, scene after scene after scene.