Zero Dark Thirty by Kathryn Bigelow (2012)

I perceive this film as a demonstration of power. The way in which an American CIA agent ‘owns’ his prisoners makes me strongly uncomfortable. Although, I have been aware of the unthinkable methods of torture applied by the Americans in the war on terror, I have never thought a filmmaker would decide to show them on screen with no shade of doubt in any of the characters. Not even one of the opressors has any moral or ethical discomfort at any point. And this is one of the major issues I have with the film. Another, is that the sides are presented as black and white. I have never fought a war, but have a deep feeling that nothing is ever black and white. At one point in the battlefield I suppose it is easier to divide all across a line – friend/foe. But this film does not show the battlefield. It shows prisons, interrogations of helpless people, who certainly at times do not have the answers.
This is a story of a crusade of one female CIA agent against Osama Bin Laden that took her over a decade. She won. She did find him and had him killed. I am just not convinced that victory at such price can ever be perceived as a victory.
Kathryn Bigelow made a film which does not leave us indifferent. It makes us hostile. It antagonises the people of the world against the Americans. I am not sure anyone should be comfortable with this.
There is no evidence about black CIA site in Gdansk, Poland – the cradle of the Polish Solidarity movement. It is very unfair to locate one scene of the film there. Now the Poles will have to answer uncomfortable questions all over the world. And very few people will bother to check the facts after having watched the film.

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Filed under 2013 cinema releases

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