Zero Dark Thirty

Rating = A-

The complaints by some about the movie not repudiating torture seems inappropriate to me---the move is telling a story, not preaching a sermon. The complaints by others that the movie indicates that torture led to finding Bin Laden also seem inappropriate---whether or not torture led to Bin Laden, torture was used by the US (and I think the movie doesn't particularly suggest it helped in the Bin Laden case). The complaints by Congress that the movie is misleading regarding torture being used to find Bin Laden are hypocritical as Congress after 9/11 allowed, and even encouraged, methods such as waterboarding to be used (and certainly the Bush White House worked at justifying ``enhanced'' methods of interrogation). Surely what an everyday person would call torture was used to try to find Bin Laden even if the actual finding of him did not result from torture.

The film seems to be to have four parts: (1) 30 minutes where they try to get information by torture and trickery; (2) 60 minutes while they work to find Bin Laden's house; (3) 30 minutes of bureaucratic hoping for greater certainty that they have in fact found Bin Laden's house; and (4) 30 minutes of attacking the house. While the film focuses from beginning to end on the analyst Maya as the determined individual CIA person who won't stop looking for Bin Laden, the movie also makes clear that lots and lots of other people are involved in such activities.

The movie is very well crafted (writing, directing, etc.), I think. Among other things, it maintains the tension from beginning to end even thought not much is happening much of the time.

This has been a good year for films. I saw four that I rated above B+: The Separation, Pina, Moonrise Kingdome, and Zero Dark Thirty.

[2013-01-11, Heritage Theater, Sandwich, MA]