Back to Show And Tell

The Grand Suggests: "Zero Dark Thirty"

It's an extremely well-done movie that was intensely researched

"ZERO DARK THIRTY": Kathryn Bigelow's docu-drama recounts the search for Osama Bin Laden.

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Ever walk into an argument long after it began and found that it's seemingly too late to take a side? The dueling parties have been firing off rationale after rationale, their heels are dug in, and as you watch them quarrel you decide you might as well stay out of it?

I have. But despite my golden intentions staying out of it tends to rarely be my strong suit. That said, in the case of Zero Dark Thirty, I've been determined.

It's rare that I can avoid forming an opinion on a controversial film for as long as I've avoided Zero Dark Thirty. Truth is, we didn't think we were going to get Zero Dark at The Grand Cinema and we've had so many rad movies visit our theater the past few weeks I haven't read a lot about the season's other elite films.

So when we learned a couple weeks ago that we were likely to host the film I had some catching up to do.

Of course I'd caught wind of the controversy: the film's implication that torture may have been used by the CIA to extract key information regarding Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts and activity.

The film, I should explain, depicts the lead-up to the assignation of Osama Bin Laden, highlighting in riveting fashion the work of the elite team of intelligence and military operatives who pursued the infamous terrorist for over a decade.

Directed by Catherine Bigelow and penned by screenwriter Mark Boal, whose modern classic The Hurt Locker is widely regarded as the best war film of the past decade, Zero Dark Thirty was an early favorite (so, at least, I had read on blogs) to make an awards run similar to Bigelow and Boal's before-mentioned film.

Then arrived the controversy. Where The Hurt Locker was largely praised by solider, scholar and film buff alike, Zero Dark Thirty has seemingly pit the same three camps in different corners of a multi-angled debate.

Liberal scholars and bloggers have lambasted the film for, they say, endorsing the use of torture. The film depicts detainees being tortured in an opening scene and alludes to it throughout.

Many service members and at least one 9-11 victims group have taken to defending the film and accusing its critics of distracting from the film's core depiction- the intelligence, endurance and bravery of the men and women whose dedication led to Bin Laden's assassination.

What's more, Senators John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin have waged an all-out public relations assault against the film, as well as the CIA who they are accusing of leaking confidential documents to Bigelow and Boal.

The overwhelming insistence of film critics and (lately) the majority of Hollywood is that, simply, Zero Dark Thirty is just a movie: an extremely well-done movie at that was intensely researched and does not necessarily draw the conclusions it has been accused of.

What really ties the whole controversy in a logistical knot is that - and get this - Bigelow herself is vehemently anti-torture.

Despite my best intentions I do think I may feel an opinion coming on, but I think I should actually see the film before I join the debate.  


Zach Powers is the marketing director at The Grand Cinema

Read next close


THE ROCKFORD FILES: The Informal Gentlemen

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search