Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty -- Zero Accuracy?

We considered going to see Kathryn Bigelow's latest film Zero Dark Thirty this past weekend but were deterred by reports of graphic scenes of violence in the form of torture. I like the line from the Golden Globes that Bigelow should know about torture after being married to James Cameron for three years, but this is no laughing matter.

The United States went through the public embarrassment of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and there are many other grim examples of torture, including Guantanamo. In addition, Zero Dark Thirty is being criticized as inaccurate in suggesting that torture helped find Osama Bin Laden.

Canada has its own controversies about torture in the Mahar Arar case and others, although we seem to prefer having others inflict the violence for us.

Christian groups have been protesting at various openings for the film:

"Hundreds of thousands of people will see Zero Dark Thirty, and many of them will walk out of the theater believing they saw the truth," said the Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director of  the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. "But the film is not based on the facts about torture. It is a work of fiction that depicts graphic acts of torture; it is neither investigative journalism nor congressional oversight. The movie’s inappropriate -– and dangerous –- implication that the use of torture by U.S. authorities produced critical intelligence, including finding Osama bin Laden, is inaccurate."

What do you think about the depiction of torture in films as a dramatic device not based in fact? What about governments using torture as a tactic, ostensibly to save lives? Is is ever acceptable?


IanD said...

I was wondering whether some kind of trailer before the film stating its fictitious nature might dissuade people from taking the plot as fact ...

sjd said...

I'll probably wait until it's on Netflix to see it.

As for torture, I have no sympathy for those who kill innocent people as an act of terrorism.
I fear for the poor bugger in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Laurie said...

Not a bad movie. I think anyone going in to see it would know it is a movie so therefore is not fact. Not as good as "Hurt Locker" but O.K. overall.

Amy McClelland said...

In my opinion using violence for justice is an injustice in itself!

David Mundy said...

I'm with Amy on this one. And of course there is always the dilemma with films supposedly based on real events (Argo is another example) which take such liberty that they are misleading or on the verge of propaganda. Perhaps there should be disclaimers. I may take sjd's route and wait for the small screen release.