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Saturday Review: Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln

Thursday 24 January 2013, 17:18

Tom Sutcliffe Tom Sutcliffe Presenter of Saturday Review

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Editor's Note: You can listen to this episode of Saturday Review from Saturday 26 January

Converting history into film is never an easy process. A lot of detail has to go, and its absence will provoke complaints, and often a lot has to be added, which can be even more contentious. We felt we couldn't decide this week between two big film releases - both of them tipped for Oscar recognition. So we're reviewing both Zero Dark Thirty, Katherine Bigelow's account of the ten year hunt for Osama Bin Laden, and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln - in which Daniel Day Lewis plays America's most revered President.

That's just under six hours of American history, touching on subjects that are still liable to start fires if clumsily handled. There's been a lot of debate in the States about whether Zero Dark Thirty implicitly endorses the brutal interrogation techniques it depicts - and some commentary about whether Lincoln properly honours the contribution of black activists to the abolition of slavery, seen in this film as largely the dispensation of white politicians. With me to discuss some of those issues are the writer Dreda Say Mitchell, businessman and broadcaster Lord Grade and the former dancer Deborah Bull. 

Manet Exhibition at the Royal Academy Manet Exhibition at the Royal Academy

I’d love to get your comments if you’ve seen either of the films already or have thoughts on anything else we’re reviewing this time: Dave Eggers’ new novel A Hologram for the King - about an American businessman trying to sell IT to a Saudi Arabian city development, the Royal Academy's Manet exhibition, already attracting rave reviews from early visitors, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz's adaptation of Henry James's gothic tale The Turn of the Screw.

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Hear Jessica Chastain talk about Zero Dark Thirty on Front Row

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Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.


See the latest on our blog


Find out about this year's panel and theme