Bin Laden movie hits the screens

Zero Dark Thirty is a more complex look at the hunt for the al Qaeda leader.

Poster from the movie Zero Dark Thirty.

NEW YORK - Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow could have made a testosterone-fuelled shoot-'em-up Hollywood version of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Instead, she and screenwriter Mark Boal turned Zero Dark Thirty into a more complex look at the decade-long hunt for the al Qaeda leader, including a frank presentation of US torture and previously undisclosed details of the mission to hunt down the man behind the September 11 attacks.

When the film opens in limited US release on Wednesday, Bigelow and Boal want audiences to disregard a year of controversies, including claims, which they have denied, that the film makers were leaked classified information.

"It's about a look inside the intelligence community. The strength and power and courage and dedication and tenacity and vulnerability of these women and men," Bigelow, 61, told Reuters in a joint interview with Boal.

Bigelow won an Academy Award in 2010 for _The Hurt Locker _about US army bomb disposal experts in Iraq.

She says her latest movie puts the audience at the centre of the quest to find bin Laden, and gives a perspective of the US intelligence community and how its methods changed in the years following the September 11 attacks.

"It's a controversial topic; it's a topic that has been endlessly politicized. The film has been mischaracterised for a year and a half and we would love it if people would go and see it and judge for themselves," Boal said.

The action thriller has emerged as an Oscar front-runner after picking up multiple early awards and nominations from Hollywood groups.