Sunday, January 20, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Zero Dark Thirty depicts our messy history in order for us to reckon with it, all of it, good and bad. Those like Jane Mayer in the New Yorker who have said the film "milks" torture for drama "while sidestepping the political and ethical debate it provokes" seem to miss the point of movies entirely: Zero Dark Thirty doesn't exist to help us hash out our principled or unprincipled political dialogue about a particular U.S. policy and how it was instituted. (Mayer, no doubt, prefers Lions for Lambs to Apocalypse Now.) Instead, it puts us in the cockpit, literally and figuratively, which is a much more uneasy place to be. Faces of politicians like Barack Obama and George W. Bush flash by on TV screens in Zero Dark Thirty, while the characters working for the C.I.A. furrow their brows and stay silent. They're too busy to debate. What seems to disturb people like Mayer most of all is that Bigelow doesn’t treat such characters as placards in a Congressional hearing. She sees them as real people, with flaws and understandable motives.

--  Paul Schrodt, "Just Watch Zero Dark Thirty for Chrissakes," (Esquire).
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