Jump to content
IGNORED

Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow's Hunt for Bin Laden Pic


Goose
 Share

Recommended Posts

It kinda amazes me that we even have to have an argument about how distasteful even the idea of this film is, let alone the reality.

Hey, if you want some fun pop over to the ZDT Twitter account and check out some more tweets praising the glory of the military and the touching nature of their sacrifice, part of the promotional push for a piece of fucking entertainment that just so happens to have Americans yelping and cheering with delight at how cool and powerful and kick ass their military is. It's a bit confusing, it's almost as if the ZDT Twitter account was like an offIcial US Army twitter account or something, it's almost like ZDT is basically a documentary. It's all a bit confusing!

There's nothing about ZDT that doesn't make me feel really uncomfortable, right down to the obvious desire by some of our resident liberals to look past the films social, political and moral implications and get to the skinny on whether it's a good DRAMA and whether they will be to enjoy it as a DRAMA and whether they won't have to acknowledge the frisson of excitement they got from watching the world's sole superpower do whatever the fuck it likes to whoever the fuck it likes wherever the fuck it likes or talk about the fact that trials are nice and stuff but I really want to see that Bin Laden guy get slotted but y'know is it a good DRAMA that I can enjoy as a DRAMA?

As the basis for an innocent, journalistic-but-oh-no-wait-it's-just-a-movie-but-still-its-quite arousing-that-it's-actually-real-too thing.

I for one can't wait to see the reaction of the American right (well, more of it), the long list of people declaring they thought the movie showed torture works, to see the opinions the people who this film reinforces their false views of America and the world - but most of all I can't wait to see the reaction from the Muslim world, which I'm sure will love watching the apparently endlessly stupid West masturbate itself into a frenzy over a film in which America's military and intelligence apparatus (in the form of a beautiful, committed, passionate, moral woman) is shown to torture it's way to success, invade the airspace of and violate the sovereignty of a muslim country and then shoot an unarmed man in the head.

I'm sure their hearts will swell with understanding and compassion towards the in no way feckless and apparently completely shortsighted entertainment consumers of the West cheering and writing glowing reviews of such a film.

I can't wait for all of that. Because remember, the film has just come out.

Enjoy, I guess. I mean, if ZDT is the sort of thing you enjoy watching then you'll probably enjoy all of the above too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Smitty being a drama queen shocker

Hey, do you want and go and read all the stuff i've posted and come back and accuse me of a being a drama queen?

Do you want to accuse Former US Air Force Col. Morris Davis, Chief Prosecutor in the Guantanamo military commissions of being a 'drama queen' when he said this:

Nothing was tortured more in the making of Kathryn Bigelow's film "Zero Dark Thirty" than the truth about torture.

And this:

While it's just a movie, it runs the risk of becoming the basis for a false view of reality for millions of moviegoers who have largely ignored a decade of debate about the efficacy of the United States sanctioning torture.

To dismiss the movie as simple entertainment ignores the impact seeing it has on our perception of reality, even when we understand we are watching actors in a -- mostly -- pretend setting.

Or perhaps you'd like to dismiss the Senate Intelligence Committee of being drama queens?

Or maybe this unpaid advisor to the film:

"The compelling story told in the film captures a lot that is true about the search for al Qaeda's leader but also distorts the story in ways that could give its likely audience of millions of Americans the misleading picture that coercive interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees -- such as waterboarding, physical abuse and sleep deprivation -- were essential to finding bin Laden. . . .

"'Zero Dark Thirty' is a great piece of filmmaking and does a valuable public service by raising difficult questions most Hollywood movies shy away from, but as of this writing, it seems that one of its central themes -- that torture was instrumental to tracking down bin Laden -- is not supported by the facts."

If you do, more power to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Smitty being a drama queen shocker

He's absolutely spot on in this thread, though. The whole exercise is just as much a piece of propaganda by and for the US military as that ludicrous Navy SEAL movie from last year, but because it's from Bigelow it gets a pass on this and you get stuff like Boozy's totally confused defence of the film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may well be right there but I do think before making your mind up 100% it would be worthwhile seeing it first. There have been plenty of people who have seen it with a different view - I listened to the rest of the Kermode interview and that wasn't his take on it, for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Hannity and Liz Cheney opinions raving about this movie and how it PROVES that torture works, is right, and got BL will be the first of many from America's frothing right wing.

But, hey, i'm just a drama queen. As long as you can go and see a cool action movie and get a vicarious thrill out of an unrestrained military power, I guess it's all gravy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may well be right there but I do think before making your mind up 100% it would be worthwhile seeing it first.

Which, quite bizarrely, I happen to think as well. I haven't made my mind up 100% at all. I haven't seen the damn movie. But like most human beings i am willing to listen to what other human beings have to say about it. So I haven't decided.

But that's not the point. Nor is it the point that other people thought differently. The point is that the film is either vague enough or the nature of it's film/journalism dualism confusing enough to allow such a strong interpretation (or misinterpretation) to arise, and in many people intelligent and informed people. Not to the mention the various right wing commentators that are coming to the same conclusion (from a different direction).

So it actually doesn't matter who is 'right' here, what matters is that Bigelow has made a sloppy/vague/misleading/inaccurate film here which both wants to be a film and trade on the frisson of the real and proclaim it's authenticity, she's made such a film about an extremely politically/socially/historically important matter and that out of this she is leading people to BELIEVE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT TRUE.

What part of this concern don't you understand?

Regardless of whether Kermode is right or someone else is right, if you've made a film so unclear in it's meanings and accuracy that you've got asshats like Hannity declaring it to be true and prove something, you have a problem on your hands.

This is why I have been talking about this film for ages. Because it was obvious from the start, with filmmakers embedding themselves with the people they were going to make a 'journalistic' film about, a film about such a big event, that this was going to be a clusterfuck.

I guarantee years from now there will be people describing the events of ZDT as if they were the gospel truth handed down from some non-partisan truth comission. Mark my words.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of which may be true, but I can't shake the feeling you should be making these points from an informed critical position, i.e. after you've seen the film.

No no, you really don't get it, it actually makes next to zero difference what i think of the movie. How people are reacting to it is the whole point here. The impressions that people are coming away with, wrong or right, is the issue here.

Oh sure I can add my voice, but whether I vote yay or neigh the underlying issue still remains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but I thought that a film thread in the Film, TV and Radio forum would be reserved for discussion about the film by people who had seen the film.

Really? Gosh, you'd better tell LC/Goose to start issuing warns to anyone who posts reviews or talks about other forumites opinions, or the opinions of people they know then.

Enjoy your superpower assassination/torture porn, i'm off to have a cup of tea. Good day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched it at the weekend and I enjoyed the film. I enjoyed the dogged determination of the character of Maya and her quest to get Bin Laden, through one lead that seemingly only she believes in and which, appears to have been snuffed out on the battlefield in 2003. The culmination of her decade's long work - the raid on the compound - is a nail-bitingly tense excercise even though you know how it plays out already. I dont know if I'd say that I enjoyed it but I'm certainly glad I watched it.

Plus, a wild Barrowman appears! He is super effective at taking me out of the movie!

As to the controversies though, I am afraid that the film does seem to imply that without torture they would not have scored the intel on Bin Laden and if it doesn't explicitly endorse the torture of detainess it certainly acknowledges that Maya's bluff will be more effective because they've deprived the man of sleep for 96 hours. The story is kept focused on the efforts of the CIA to catch Bin Laden and only pays lip service to prominent events such as the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the abuse of detainees at Gitmo and the shift in policy once Obama takes office. I understand why the film does this from a narrative point of view - it bonds us to Maya as we see her escape a shooting at the embassy, lose a co-worker to a suicide bomber and struggle against the red tape that keeps her from doing her job but it also means that the cause and effect of America's presence in the Middle East is marginalised and reduces the conflict to a very simple Good Guys Vs Bad Guys viewpoint.

As I said, the raid on the compound is thrillingly tense. I don't care what you're politics are, watching professionals soldiers go about their business is always cinematic and captivating but here is is very disturbing. This is an assassination where we are supposed to cheer on the assassins. The films fully acknowledges that America was not supposed to be in Pakistan, let alone murdering people in their home. Yes, it was Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the deaths of thousands of innocents but he was still ultimately a man, cornered in his bedroom by a team of S.E.A.L.S and shot at least five times. It's quite horrible in it's execution if you pardon the pun.

This isn't the Team America 2: USA Strikes Back that some people are making it out to be but it is far from a neutral film; it's quite clear where your sympathies are supposed to lie and at no point does it actually hold a mirror up to the actions of the U.S. However, this is only my opinion and I would urge those who are interested in the film to watch it for themselves and discuss it afterward.

I'd rate 'Zero Dark Thirty' three stars out of five.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Smitty being a drama queen shocker

He pretty much summed up exactly what I was thinking when I noticed it appear as an ad while attempting to view a YT video. I was with a kid who I teach at the time who stated "this looks like a good film", and while it seemed intreaguing, the second I realised OBL was the highlight of the film, suspected it may be embraced as a tool to influence the ignorant in the wrong direction, even if this isn't the intention of the film makers. What Smitty said is certainly a valid cause for concern. I won't lose sleep over it, but it's a thought that did cross my mind before entering this thread and I'd only seen the trailer once.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what matters is that Bigelow has made a sloppy/vague/misleading/inaccurate film here which both wants to be a film and trade on the frisson of the real and proclaim it's authenticity, she's made such a film about an extremely politically/socially/historically important matter and that out of this she is leading people to BELIEVE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT TRUE.

What part of this concern don't you understand?

I do understand that. And if that happens to a significant proportion of people who view the film it is – to put it mildly – a shame and a concern. For me, anyway.

A couple of points I would say though:

1) I wonder whether this aspect is being overblown. It’s a hot subject, and rightly so. People’s passions are raised on both sides of the argument. I’ve read some dodgy articles on this. Hell, Greenwald (whose articles I would usually not class as dodgy) was rapped over the knuckles by his own readers for forming an argument before watching the film himself – ironically he was berating Bigelow for not taking a journalistic approach! So I would like to see if the film is as clear cut as some of these people are suggesting – and I wonder if your average Joe is going to take from it what those people have.

2) I do have concerns with the idea that Bigelow and the editing team have some sort of ‘moral obligation’ to include certain elements, or preclude certain elements that reflect reality. Every movie, every documentary has an agenda; every movie, every documentary has been edited to leave the viewer with the director’s vision. This is implicit in every movie you watch. I appreciate that people are saying the reason for their criticism is because Bigelow said the movie took an ‘almost journalistic approach’ – but even journalists leave their readers with the impression they want to give. There is no way in movies to play back reality, to be truly even-handed. Bigelow (in her interview with Kermode) seems to think that she’s put something out there for people to judge themselves. Maybe she’s failed in that - let’s see. But I think as a director she should make the movie she wants and we should let the public decide if it’s any cop or not. Certain people have made their minds up already. It will be interesting to see what others think.

EDIT: Interesting comments Glasgowchivas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Politics aside (if that's possible) what did you think of it as a movie / drama, Chow?

It's hard to form a view about the film without using your own political viewpoint, because that appears to be integral to interpreting the film. I think it's a definitely a film that is worth watching, but I don't think it's required viewing at the cinema. It's probably better to watch the film on your own if possible. That way, you can form your own opinions and viewpoints on what is going on. I don't think you can call this an 'enjoyable' film, and I don't think it's meant to be either.

It's very well directed film, and you can forgive the lack of genuinely likeable characters because of the subject matter. Even with the creative liberties taken, nobody is going to come off too well when you consider that this isn't a film about the good guys. This is a film about killing the bad guy, and I think that point may well be lost on a lot of people.

It could definitely have done with a bit of actual character development though. If we're watching Maya from day 1 of her quest to get Bin Laden, surely we should have seen a gradual change in her viewpoint. She turns up and doesn't look too comfortable with the torture of a prisoner. But then a few scenes later, she's more than happy to torture people to extract information. All we really get from her character is that she's stubborn, and that's about it. Pretty much everybody in the film is really one dimensional. Except for one person.

John f**king Barrowman. He's no dimensional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I watched the film, I got the impression that they wasted six years pointlessly torturing people, when they could have been softer, more intelligent in the first place. It wasn't until Bro-Fist McBro left the stage and Determined Female Lead took over that they started making progress.

Also interesting to note, on the subject of the film being US military propaganda; Jessica Chastain explained to John Stewart that when you make movies involving the US army, etc, if you submit to having your script vetoed by their brass, you can have all the toys you need loaned for free. The film makers didn't want any interference from the US military so they eschewed the free gear. Maybe that was a mistake on their part if the movie really is a jingoistic triumph of propaganda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2) I do have concerns with the idea that Bigelow and the editing team have some sort of ‘moral obligation’ to include certain elements, or preclude certain elements that reflect reality. Every movie, every documentary has an agenda; every movie, every documentary has been edited to leave the viewer with the director’s vision. This is implicit in every movie you watch. I appreciate that people are saying the reason for their criticism is because Bigelow said the movie took an ‘almost journalistic approach’ – but even journalists leave their readers with the impression they want to give. There is no way in movies to play back reality, to be truly even-handed. Bigelow (in her interview with Kermode) seems to think that she’s put something out there for people to judge themselves. Maybe she’s failed in that - let’s see. But I think as a director she should make the movie she wants and we should let the public decide if it’s any cop or not. Certain people have made their minds up already. It will be interesting to see what others think.

No, the criticism is not just simply because Bigelow (and Boales, and the film itself) make claims to accuracy and 'journalistic qualities' - it's also because they do that and then deliver a misleading and inaccurate portrayal of events. And then of course there are other criticisms like the films lack of commentary on torture despite spending so time dwelling on it, the film's supposed jingoistic qualities and so on. Why you are reducing this to one fragment of one complaint I don't know.

In real life the guy who gave up the courier's name told it to FBI officers under normal interrogation. He was THEN whisked away to Gitmo to be tortured. The film's version of this specific event is completely misleading and culminates in the obvious implication that torture gets results and that it lead to Bin Laden. Real life: interrogation secured the info. ZDT: torture, and the threat of further torture, saved the day!

I've already been over this a few times. As have people writing in the articles i've posted. I even posted a clip of this very scene for people to 'judge themselves'.

As for the rest, about agendas and nothing being truly neutral, that is all so obvious as to be pointless addressing. That's not the point.

How Bigelow, or Boales for instance with that scene I posted, can argue that it doesn't make obvious implications about the utility of torture and therefore it's role in tracking BL I don't know.

I'll add another thing into the mix, and I would love to see you address this - both Bigelow and Boales have a very, very nasty habit of breezily talking about 'enhanced interrogation techniques', a hideous and Orwellian piece of Unspeak, whereas normal people simply talk of torture.

Do they really strike you as brave and fearless film makers striving to make a complex, naunced film when they can't even call torture torture? When they spent lord knows how much time having the CIA spin them a whole load of bullshit about how wonderful they are?

Why am I having to highlight these obvious problems to you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll also just repeat this to you:

''After watching the movie for about 30 minutes you realise this [torture] is an effective technique, you realise that these CIA operatives... these tier 1 guys, are doing a great job and in the background it shows the president of the United States saying that we need to achieve some type of moral morality, we need to get back our moral superiority.

And i'm sat there and i've literally got sick to my stomach, Sean. Coz he's the thing...how effective do you want us to be? Mr president, how effective do you want us to be?

[waffle]

And my hat's off to Ms Bigelow for portraying that accurately''

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why would you judge a film by the reaction it provokes with some people or how the marketing department portrays it? When Starship Troopers was released I remember folks cheering in their seats because they thought they were watching a jingoistic, pro-military movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Smitty, a perfectly good screener of this came out over two weeks ago so it's there to see if you wanted to, unless you were err waiting for a legal version.

I'm not really into getting stuck on the politics of this but despite being a well-made film, I think some of the interesting critical points in this thread are valid. I don't think it will really change the minds of people with pre-existing opinions on the event.

End raid spoiler:

Were the Seals whispering each target's name to freak them out and make them appear, or think it was someone friendly? Seeing the NV lights in that dark staircase calling out was pretty creepy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Smitty, a perfectly good screener of this came out over two weeks ago so it's there to see if you wanted to, unless you were err waiting for a legal version.

I'm not really into getting stuck on the politics of this but despite being a well-made film, I think some of the interesting critical points in this thread are valid. I don't think it will really change the minds of people with pre-existing opinions on the event.

End raid spoiler:

Were the Seals whispering each target's name to freak them out and make them appear, or think it was someone friendly? Seeing the NV lights in that dark staircase calling out was pretty creepy!

Re: spoiler, the latter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

EDIT: To Smitty: Well my whole points were around wondering what your average person would think. I don't think Sean Hannity falls under that category.

Well you keep contracting the range of valid opinions further and further every time you talk about it.

First it was only people that are professional film reviewers. I could paste up two more new reviews from professional film reviewers criticising the film, but you'd probably declare that they had already made their mind up and ask for a full breakdown of their political beliefs and affiliations.

Now we can exclude, what, media commentators? So people who aren't media commentators but are professional film reviewers. Gosh, it's starting to get tricky already.

I can't wait for your to define the 'average' person. I guess I won't count because I read books and am politically active. Maybe Glasgowchivas doesn't count either for some yet as unnamed reason, I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

End raid spoiler:

Were the Seals whispering each target's name to freak them out and make them appear, or think it was someone friendly? Seeing the NV lights in that dark staircase calling out was pretty creepy!

Yes, exactly that, they were

whispering the target's names to make them expose themselves. I'm sure I read once that it is virtually impossible to detect accent and identify voices when the person is using a whisper/shout. It was a horrible part of the film, if fascinating to see how SEAL teams operate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.