Zero Dark Thirty, A Must See
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see Zero Dark Thirty in theaters with my roommates, the story about an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoting themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. The film is up for 5 Academy awards and has been met with wide acclaim from film critics, currently holding a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 170 reviews and an average rating of 8.8/10, as well as a score of 95 on Metacritic based on 36 reviews. It is the best reviewed film of 2012 according to Metacriti. The film was jaw-dropping, and an amazing creation, one I highly recommend to see.
Despite its praise, there has been quite some controversy as well over allegations of partisanship, improper access to classified information and taking pro-torture stance. Several republican sources charged the Obama Administration of improperly providing Bigelow and her team access to classified information during their research for the film. These charges, along with charges of other leaks to the media, became a prevalent election season conservative talking point, and had also found their way onto the Republican National Convention party platform, which claimed Obama “has tolerated publicizing the details of the operation to kill the leader of Al Qaeda.” In January 2013, it was reported that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will review the contacts between the CIA and the filmmakers to find out whether they had inappropriate access to classified information.
The film has been both criticized and praised for its handling of subject matter involving interrogation and torture. Glenn Greenwald, in The Guardian, stated that it “presents torture as its CIA proponents and administrators see it: as a dirty, ugly business that is necessary to protect America,” while Frank Bruni similarly concluded that the film appears to suggest “No waterboarding, no Bin Laden.” In my eyes, if you are dealing with the most dangerous people in the entire world, mild torture may have to be met, given that people are received basic necessities for life. An interview with Mark Boal and Mark Bowden discusses the film’s controversial depiction of enhanced interrogation, if you care to watch.
Whether you are completely for or against the movie, I feel that if you live in the United States of America, you should definitely make an effort to watch this film. It is truly amazing to see how long, in depth, dangerous, but also seamless this effort was. It really opens your eyes, is inspiring and makes you want to create some change or do something meaningful. I also recommend reading No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden, which my roommate recommended. From an Amazon book description, “for the first time anywhere, the first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments. From the streets of Iraq to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean, and from the mountaintops of Afghanistan to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group–commonly known as SEAL Team Six– has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.”
I hope you enjoy reading or watching or even researching about this mission. Even myself, who tends to not talk politics much and only think about military in the game Call of Duty, highly advise you to get to the nearest theater soon.