Zero Dark Thirty

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I have just returned home from the cinema where I saw Zero Dark Thirty. So, I thought while I was waiting for dinner to cook, I’d post my impressions of the film.

This movie which has an Oscar nomination for Picture Of The Year is over 2 1/2 hrs. long but the time flies because there isn’t a slow dull moment in it. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow  – who became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director with her film The Hurt Locker – the movie stars Jessica Chastain who is also nominated for an Oscar.

If you don’t know the premise of this movie it is essentially the true story (that we know so far) of the tracking down and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Bigelow interviewed people involved and got a look at files and the cooperation of the CIA to some extent. The degree of that extent brings up a point.

This movie is going to be the subject of a Congressional Hearing for some reason. Certain Congressmen and Senators are upset (it seems complaining is what they do best) that Bigelow got the access she did although frankly it is clear after watching it that there were no classified secrets in the script.

What the overpaid blowhards in D.C. are really upset about is the fact she shows Americans – the CIA – torturing people. I always thought this was the biggest open-secret out there. The torture scenes are very realistic and probably something every American needs to see. There is such an ignorance about torture here it is mind-boggling.

There has been claims that the movie shows that torture works. Nah, not really. Torture experts will tell you 90% of the time it doesn’t work and trying to decipher when you are in the 10% is just as hard as your original problem. I thought Bigelow revealed a truthful side here. That longterm torture carries little benefit. If you pay attention to the script you will notice no one talks unless 1. They think the information is compromised anyway 2. they are lying 3. interrogators lie to the detainee and trick him into talking. So, I think the whole torture debate is nonsense. The neo-cons have been so consistently wrong over the last dozen years I am not sure why anyone listens to them anymore. Maybe it is just convenient for people to think there is an easy solution. Sorry, but as this movie definitely shows, there isn’t.

Outside the torture issues, you get a good sense of what CIA agents have to waddle through to do their jobs (it also shows why human intelligence sources are so vital) and how wrecked their lives become in the process. This is no Tom Cruise Mission Impossible romp. This is the real deal.

One of the best parts of this movie is the raid on Bin Laden’s compound itself. It goes into extraordinary detail and really keeps you on the edge of your seat. For the first time I think Americans and the world get a clear picture of how Bin Laden met his end. One thing I liked about the script is that there is no preachy element here. This is a bare knuckles account. It is what it is.

There are a couple excellent books on the manhunt for Bin Laden and the raid that bagged him but I haven’t read them yet so I have no comparison. All I will say is that this movie will keep your interest from moment one. It is a must-see for any movie lover, politico, or history buff. The performances and passion behind this effort are as raw as the story itself.

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Categories: art, books, Entertainment, Everyday Life, movies, Politics, travel, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Zero Dark Thirty

  1. I was an eyewitness to the attacks on 9/11 in New York City. I saw it happen out the windows of my old office, which was perhaps a mile away, but in a direct line with our fabulous World Trade Center. I don’t advocate torture…but I’m glad the informants talked, however it happened!

    • Jett

      Sorry you were that close on that day. The problem with torture is that it normally doesn’t get the truth. A guy will tell you whatever he thinks it will get you to stop. (Something also shown in the film). All of that of course is dependent on having the right guy. Even police here can get a false confession under the right circumstances without torture so you can imagine what a guy who might not know a thing will say when bloodied up and waterboarded. That leaves you with trying to sort what is fact and fiction etc. Then there is just the act itself. Movie does a decent job of showing its brutality which also messes with the mind of the interrogators. Even by Pentagon figures more innocent people ended up in places in Gitmo than guilty ones. Something else the movie brought out … because of money. There were rewards for turning someone in so sheep herder Ahmed didn’t like shopkeeper Abdul on the other side of the mountain who belonged to a different clan so he would turn him in and make a nice profit.

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