Zero Dark Thirty (6. Jan 2013)

As was already apparent to me in The Hurt Locker (2008), the only other director capable of creating the amount of razor-edge suspense, the way Kathryn Bigelow does, was Henry-George Clouzot.

This dark view on the "War on Terror" is seen trough the experiences of a single CIA operative, a young woman named Maya (Jessica Chastain), who sticks to the obvious clues for years and her stubborn hunt for the world's most wanted criminal eventually pays off. Bigelow and the screenwriter Mark Boal show us the mechanism of the hunt which is at times chaotic and disorganised, complicated but sometimes simple and crude. In the end, like in cases of the recently caught war criminals, Karadžić and Mladić, Bin Laden's hiding turns out to be simple and straightforward. Common sense thinking is what provided the success in the end.

The whole noise about the film being pro-torture, as exemplified by an open letter to Bigelow by Naomi Wolf, is part of the ever more popular half-baked political discourse, so common to pseudo-feminists and pseudo-leftists of the mainstream media.

Zero Dark Thirty is the only film so far which actually contributes to the debate about torture by representing it realistically and putting it in the context in which it has been taking place before Obama put a stop to it.

Creating a debate around the usefulness of torture, as people such as Wolf do, and concluding that torture is wrong because it does not give results (which is arguable), uncovers the true amorality of those leading the debate. Bigelow's film totally ignores the "usefulness" debate because that is the actual moral position. Clearly, we should ask those who shout "torture doe not lead to results", what if it did? Would torturing, for example, children be justified, because it gave results? Naomi Wolf cites research to support the idea that it doesn't. But is she going to change her position in the case there is sufficient scientific evidence to the contrary? Who is the moral arbiter then, Wolf or Bigelow, who actually provides us with the substance for the actual moral argument? Yes, it may have helped catch Bin Laden, but torture, as depicted in Zero Dark Thirty, is still one of the worst things we can do to each other, and to humanity in general, and the film doesn't shy away from such conclusions. Making us aware of the horror of torture is to the credit of the filmmakers such as Bigelow and Boal, not Naomi Wolfs of the world.