Very interesting film. In the past 10 years or so, a ton of movies have been released about the various conflicts in the middle east. Syriana, Body of Lies, etc. After a while I had started to stay away due to lack of interest. I feel as if they are all shot the same. Shaky hand-held camera work. Cliched Middle Eastern soundtrack. This film, to me, managed to rise above it and stay the same. Jessica Chastain puts in a great performance, and makes the film more human and personal, giving it less of a history channel vibe. The torture scenes are not as bad as the criticism makes it out to be. It was also fun spotting out various actors with small bits in the film (Andy from Parks and Rec, Stannis from Games of Thrones, etc.). Like The Hurt Locker, this film is superb, but doesn't hit quite as hard (IMO). The final 30 - 45 minutes are amazing though. It would go in my top 10, but probably not my top 5. It'll get tons of awards attention, and might even win simply because of its subject matter.
This film solidifies the fact that 2012 has been one of the best years in film in a long time. Every film I've seen this year has been great and deserving of whatever awards it wins or gets nominated for. Still need to see Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Flight.