Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Zero Sum Games

I talked through my reaction to Zero Dark Thirty in the latest MovieFilm Podcast, but just to sum up, I would ultimately give it a thumbs up. While I recognize the issues some are citing with what it depicts vis-a-vis geopolitics and torture I honestly don't see an overarching "yea" or "nay" on the efficacy of so-called "enhanced interrogation" to extract information. I dunno, maybe I'm just being willfully ignorant, but for me, simply pretending it didn't happen would be far worse, and some of the reactions I've seen in the media do seem overblown when compared with what's actually depicted.

For me, based on how things play(ed) out, it almost seems like a statement against torture, but I'm perfectly willing to chalk that up to my reading and mine alone. The film is studiously nebulous on the question of torture -- in turn prompting nebulous reactions.As I said on the show, I don't think it'll change your mind on the issue one way or another, but that very nebulousness should, in theory, prompt those in the audience to do their own research and make up their own minds. In that vein, here's a piece by my friend Paul Shirey over at JoBlo prompted by a protest against the film by Academy member David Clennon. A key takeaway:
If your search for the facts begins and ends with a 2.5 hour long movie then your card is already punched. According to Clennon, and every other Hollywood activist and Senatorial committee, we, as viewers, cannot discern fact from fiction and aren’t smart enough to do our own research to find the real answers. According to them, we are mindless drones who only respond to two-hour blocks of entertainment and thus, must be “shielded” from that which may influence us “wrongly.” I’d really like to know when movies were regarded as history books. It’s simply not possible to cover every single angle of an event in a two-hour movie. Anyone who thinks otherwise is disconnected from reality.
Read the rest of Paul's column here.

No comments: