More on “Zero Dark Thirty”

A few more reflections on Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal`s movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden:

  • Were secrets leaked to the filmmakers? Maybe, but I didn’t learn much I didn’t already know. Bigelow is an artist who tends toward abstraction over informativeness, so, as with most of her military films (unlike, say, Tom Clancy military movies), Thirty isn’t broadly enlightening. 
  • Since the first half hour of the film consists of a CIA Ph.D. abusing an Al-Qaeda accountant while Chastain’s heroine looks on, does this mean that torture is effective? Beats me. It’s naïve to assume that any element of this movie is unspun. Every insider who talked to Boal had an agenda. 
  • The film`s casting of actors to play SEAL Team Six appears to be intentionally confusing. Almost all the commandos are depicted as beefy, bearded, and visually interchangeable. Any would-be terrorist who sees Thirty Dark Zero looking for clues as to the individual identities of the Americans who killed bin Laden will likely emerge disappointed.