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Zero Dark Thirty

by Louise Adams
Friday Mar 22, 2013
Zero Dark Thirty

Those protesting against writer-producer Mark Boal's "Zero Dark Thirty" have a point: the "enhanced interrogation" portrayed is pretty much a Dick Cheney torture porn.

This Kathryn Bigelow film has the same issues that "Argo" did - when you put a true story inside highly fictionalized elements, you probably should be aware that some audiences might view the piece as a documentary of sorts.

There's a lot of water-boarding from the get-go, followed by regret near the end that Gitmo came under such congressional scrutiny that torture had all but disappeared as an "information-gathering technique."

Another issue with this interpretation of the Osama Bin Laden capture story (the CIA referred to him as "UBL") is the lead agent Maya, played by translucent Golden Globe winner/Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain. Because of her robotic delivery, she never seems three-dimensional or truly human, but instead like an amalgam, which she was (the creators said the character was a conglomerate of several female agents who tracked the terrorist for over a decade).

Some of the imagery is obvious as well, from monkeys in a cage next to the Cuban detainees to Area 51 to the torture tautology. "Zero Dark Thirty" (military time for the start of the raid on UBL's Abbotabad, Pakistan, complex) doesn't hold a thumbscrew to the creative team's more impactful previous effort "The Hurt Locker."

The Blu-ray extras include "No Small Feat - Making 'Zero Dark Thirty,'" a tour of the film's rebuilt compound, the cast training with real Navy SEAL's in "Geared Up," and a look at the role of Maya in "Targeting Jessica Chastain." I also received a copy of the shooting script, which helped to keep track of the rotating cast of characters and ways in which humans hurt each other in the name of religion and freedom.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack

Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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