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Propaganda War

Wednesday 16 January 2013, 10:46

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Zero Dark Thirty - the new film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is attracting a lot of controversy -  but could this actually be less about politics and more to do with awards?

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    Comment number 12.

    People don't seriously believe the CIA denial that torture was used, or that they wouldn't have been included in the film which collaborated so closely with those involved if it wasn't true. Of course they authorities can't officially admit that they committed war crimes, but that fact they didn't ask for the torture scenes to be removed is a tacit admission which allows them still to claim that it is just artistic licence. That the Americans have used torture against terror suspects isn't really in doubt,so it is ridiculous that the torture wouldn't have been used to try and find bin laden.

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    Comment number 13.

    I seem to remember that the one movie since, I guess, the Green Berets, to truly picture the US armed forces in a positive light, Act of Valour was ridiculed by the good doctor.

    I didn't think it was that bad. But then, I'm not a troskyist.

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    Comment number 14.

    First of all, I have not yet been able to see Zero Dark Thirty.

    However all I have read about this film and its production raises serious questions about modern cinema and also about modern war movies. Especially as we move into the perspective years of the first decade of the 'war on terror'. Similar to the slew of Vietnam movies in the 70's when the dust had settled there.

    Firstly, there seems to be a product placement issue here. This time it's not a well known cola or watch company that is required to assist in making the film, but the military. The Pentagon seem to have been closely linked to this film and for the filmmakers that's great (helicopters, Humvee's, military advisers etc...). However, what is the military's agenda here? Every army has had a message to get across since Alexander the Great.

    Secondly, what is the point of torture in a movie about Lord Voldemort's assassination. The true story is that torture had nothing to do with him being found. So why is it in the movie? Now maybe the doctor will tell us that it ratchets up the tension and is essential to whatever gripping story the filmmakers try to tell us.

    The cynic in me says that at the top of the military and political worlds on both sides of the Atlantic, there are still a lot of people who seek to justify in our collective minds what we once only associated with the baddies in Indiana Jones movies (I won't name them and fall into that award season trap!)

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    Comment number 15.

    Having seen the film I can say two things: 1) it clearly depicts torture as being ineffective at extracting useful information as a tortured detainee only babbles when he is finally broken and 2) a film about the War on Terror requires that torture be depicted because, unfortunately, that's part of the story. Bigelow herself has said in interviews that if she had left the tough bits out she would be slammed for glossing over those truths.

    The film is quite ambivalent in it's views and it reads more like reportage and less like sensationalism. The film is not "right wing crap" because it has too many rough moral edges and it does not lecture like "Acts of Valor," which clearly is propaganda.

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    Comment number 16.

    amazed you didn't list 'strange days' - 2nd best film to point break by bigelow

    i liked the hurt locker - even tho it too had hints of tv quality

    zero dark thirty was like a small budget tv documentary - and it certainly is not award worthy

    please beg her to go back to sci-fi.action films mark

    nice one on the larry flynt thumbs up - a classic film


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