Tag Archives: Zero Dark Thirty

Arguing Torture &
Zero Dark Thirty

With The New Yorker’s
Amy Davidson

 

Chastain In Zero Dark Thirty

 

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty was one of the most accomplished films of 2012, which is why the excoriating moral critique of Bigelow’s film, from the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson, was such a compelling read. I was one among the many who were floored last week when Bigelow was passed over for a Best Director Academy Award nomination, along with Ben Affleck, who deserved a nod for Argo that he did not receive (though he won both the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Awards for his direction of that film). Davidson was not surprised — or, at least, not disappointed. For Davidson, Bigelow’s masterpiece is a moral, and therefore directorial, failure, a supposition I couldn’t disagree with more — which is why I put together this piece on Arguing Torture and Zero Dark Thirty with Amy Davidson, even if she isn’t arguing back.

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Zero Dark Thirty In Theaters Today

zerodarkthirty_viaTribecaFilm_viaNewsday

A few weeks ago, we posted an early review of Zero Dark Thirty, as the press and the creative community in Hollywood were getting their first look. The film, a cinematic masterpiece from Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow and journalist and Academy Award winning screenwriter Mark Boal, hits theaters today. It stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Jennifer Ehle. For a great insider’s look at the film, read this interview with Jessica Chastain which appeared in last week’s Huffington Post.

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Year’s Best:
Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t hit theaters until December 19th, but the critics have been weighing in since the weekend, when the film finally screened for the entire press corp (a select few had seen it earlier), and for the Hollywood crowd of writers, actors, directors, producers and others who’ll be weighing in on the film as it racks up various nominations during awards season.

Zero Dark Thirty is military speak for “the middle of the night,” an apt title for a film about  one woman’s dogged determination to track down and kill Osama Bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty is based on the true story of the real life CIA Agent (a woman who’s identity the filmmakers have gone to lengths to protect) whose 10 year crusade culminated in the now famous special forces mission that ended Bin Laden’s life.

The film opens in darkness. A black screen. Voices. It’s 9/11 and we are hearing events unfold. It’s one of the most affecting cinematic moments of the last few years. One of the film’s great accomplishments, evident from the first scene, is the way it weaves a story that could have stirred up feelings of revenge but instead brings us into deep contact with the common humanity we share with every one involved in this painful saga, from the agents who engaged in torture in hopes of extracting actionable intelligence; to the torture victims whose guilt in the movie is clear; to the surviving wives and children of Bin Laden, Bin Laden’s courier, and the courier’s brother and sister-in-law, who were at the compound when they were killed.

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