Usually people from the right are the ones who attack films
they haven't seen yet. So I find it a refreshing show
of bipartisanship to see similar outbursts from the left. In the "Guardian," Glenn Greenwald, admitting he didn' t see "Zero Dark Thirty," cites and
interprets the responses of other people who have seen the film. Based on
that, he condemns it as a jingoistic glorification of torture, concluding categorically:
"What this film does, then, is uncritically present as fact
the highly self-serving, and factually false, claims by the CIA that its
torture techniques were crucial in finding bin Laden. Put another way, it
propagandizes the public to favorably view clear war crimes by the US
government, based on pure falsehoods."
Kind of a big leap to say this about a film you haven't
seen, even if you make a point of stating that you haven't seen it. Anyway, his
article was picked up by other people who also haven't seen the film, like the usually
reliable Andrew Sullivan, who quotes it
in his blog, and so a giant backlash has
risen up against the film initiated by people who are admittedly ignorant. Though
there are also many who have seen the film and who, in my opinion, have totally
missed the point, misreading it according to their ideological
On a more positive note, Sullivan has since posted a link to
"Wired" writer Spencer Ackerman's more
enlightened (ie: he saw it) take on the film. It
doesn't do much to dislodge Sullivan's skepticism, though he says he will give
the film a "fair shake," when he gets
around to seeing it. Forgive me if I am skeptical about that.
As for Ackerman, I agree with his assessment. All I can say
is that I left the screening even more appalled by so-called "enhanced interrogation"
than I was before.The fact that the director Kathryn Bigelow makes no overt condemnation of the
atrocities forces viewers to come to grips with the reality without someone belaboring
the "moral" of the story. That restraint makes the point
more emphatically, at least it did for me.
Also, as far as I can tell, the irony is that in the film it
seems that none of the information that was obtained by torture directly led to finding bin Laden. Instead, it seems the
crucial information came from the old fashioned methods of bribery and tracing
phone calls and exhaustive research. But the film is so densely detailed I
might be wrong, so I plan to see it again. Which is two more times than some of
those who have condemned it have done.