Uncategorized

Zero Propaganda, Dark Realities

We don’t like admitting we were wrong, but when it comes to the movie Zero Dark Thirty we were … dead wrong. Two years ago, we predicted this flic would be nothing but a pre-election Obama for America commercial … a little Hollywood “atta boy” for U.S. President Barack Obama….

We don’t like admitting we were wrong, but when it comes to the movie Zero Dark Thirty we were … dead wrong.

Two years ago, we predicted this flic would be nothing but a pre-election Obama for America commercial … a little Hollywood “atta boy” for U.S. President Barack Obama. Turns out we should have had a little more faith in moviemaker Kathryn Bigelow, who won best director and best picture Oscars for her 2009 masterpiece The Hurt Locker.

Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is an apolitical masterpiece – an exquisitely crafted three-hour thrill ride which chronicles the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and culminates with an unflinchingly realistic depiction of the covert operation which assassinated him. Easily one of the best movies we’ve seen in several years, Zero Dark Thirty strikes the perfect balance of tension and release – permitting searing visuals rather than hackneyed dialogue to conduct the exploration of its central themes.

You know … themes like What took us so long? and Why are we waterboarding people?

Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow

In fact right from the get-go Zero Dark Thirty announces its departure from the norm by permitting audio recordings from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to launch its narrative rather than the iconic imagery of the burning World Trade Center towers.

Then there is the command performance turned in by actress Jessica Chastain – who portrays an emotionally autistic, foul-mouthed CIA analyst whose refusal to shake an oft-disproved hunch leads to the ultimate payoff. Chastain won a Golden Globe for Zero Dark Thirty (how she failed to bring home the Oscar for her performance is beyond us).

She drives the movie’s tension, though … including the total lack of interest she shows for any of the male leads, most of whom she views as obstacles to overcome in her dogged pursuit of bin Laden.

In fact Bigelow’s ability to keep the audience on the edge of its seat despite knowing the ultimate resolution of all that tension is a testament to her genius as a director.

Also, the movie’s distributors did the right thing by postponing Zero Dark Thirty‘s release until after the 2012 presidential election … not that Obama or GOP Mitt Romney wound up differing much on foreign policy.

This website has long maintained that the United States not only invited the 9/11 attacks – but stoked additional anti-American extremism via our misdirected response. In fact we believe the neocon whores shilling for our nation’s military industrial complex are continuing to needlessly provoke future attacks – making them some of the most dangerous people in our country.

Having said that the assassination of bin Laden was absolutely a “core function” of government – whether we provoked his organization or not. Every terrorist who was involved in the 9/11 attacks should be hunted down and killed – a process which could have been expedited had we not decided to take out Saddam Hussein in Iraq or wage an ongoing war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now as for those 4,700 drone deaths – and our government’s willingness to use those drones on American citizens – that’s another matter.

As for the enhanced interrogation techniques graphically portrayed in Zero Dark Thirty, we don’t have a problem with them (as we’ve noted previously). Seriously … ask the family of Daniel Pearl how al-Qaeda treats its detainees. Also, the last time we checked taxpayers were building soccer fields for our enemy combattants – not torturing them.

Anyway … none of that detracts from the status of Zero Dark Thirty as a work of art, not the ra-ra political statement we expected it would be. Instead of pre-election propaganda, we were treated to a movie that actually exceeded The Hurt Locker in its scope and intensity.

***

Related posts

Uncategorized

Spy Apps: Balancing Privacy And Practicality

FITSForum
Murdaughs

Buster Murdaugh Files Defamation Lawsuit

Callie Lyons
Uncategorized

Murdaugh Retrial Hearing: Interview With Bill Young

Will Folks

10 comments

EJB March 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Pat Buchanan argues that WWII was unnecessary and that Germany was essentially forced to go to war, all evidence to the contrary, he really stretches to make his point. I think here too that there is a stretch to say overthrowing the Taliban to get OBL was unnecessary.

Reply
EJB March 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Pat Buchanan argues that WWII was unnecessary and that Germany was essentially forced to go to war, all evidence to the contrary, he really stretches to make his point. I think here too that there is a stretch to say overthrowing the Taliban to get OBL was unnecessary.

Reply
Worth Repeating March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“This website has long maintained that the United States not only invited the 9/11 attacks – but stoked additional anti-American extremism via our misdirected response. In fact we believe the neocon whores shilling for our nation’s military industrial complex are continuing to needlessly provoke future attacks – making them some of the most dangerous people in our country.”

Reply
Worth Repeating March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“This website has long maintained that the United States not only invited the 9/11 attacks – but stoked additional anti-American extremism via our misdirected response. In fact we believe the neocon whores shilling for our nation’s military industrial complex are continuing to needlessly provoke future attacks – making them some of the most dangerous people in our country.”

Reply
energydonk March 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

A rush to judgement not unlike others you’ve demonstrated yet you felt the need to apologize? Pray tell why?

Reply
energydonk March 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

A rush to judgement not unlike others you’ve demonstrated yet you felt the need to apologize? Pray tell why?

Reply
hum_dinger March 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

you do realize, right, that there are other neocon whores who are now in govt? Like Mulvaney, for starters…..

Reply
hum_dinger March 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

you do realize, right, that there are other neocon whores who are now in govt? Like Mulvaney, for starters…..

Reply
9" March 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

Zero Dark Thirty is fucking terrible. Oh that felt incredible to say “out-loud.” Goddamn, I have literally never walked out of a movie, but Zero Dark Thirty almost pushed me over the edge. It is actually difficult to have a movie full to bursting with controversy that literally bored me to tears. But what’s worse than boredom? This movie is remarkably stupid and poorly written and acted with all the care and craft of a high-school musical.

The movie opens with some guy torturing some other guy. We’re supposed to think that it’s rough and edgy… because the doe-eyed white lady is clearly concerned. She reminds the suspect to “not be a naughty liar.” So she’s a softie, right? But literally 2 minutes later, scruff beard-man talks to a colleague and says “She’s a raw new recruit, someone to fear.”

Wait. What?

The confusion increases as she spends the rest of the movie bouncing between RoboCop and scared almost… damsel in distress. She’s one of the most inconsistent characters I’ve ever seen, literally no hyperbole here. In the middle of the movie, she’s devastated(?) by another character dying… a character that she’s had two interactions with, the first of which was being mocked by her. The second they’re best friends? Sort of? Then she dies as a result of a monumentally stupid decision that’s telegraphed from a mile away (pro-tip, maybe don’t let terrorists into your military base.) Then she gets blown up. And as an audience we’re sad because we’re told to be sad. Doe-eyed girl is sad, so we’re EXTRA sad. She even starts drinking. *Gasp*

Then, from her sadness comes a moment that was so stupid that I almost left the theater. James Gandolfini goes “WELL HOW TO WE KNOW HE’S IN THIS SUPER-HOUSE? I DON’T BELIEVE THIS!” And then she goes “WELL IN THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE.” I did not make up that line. Some of this review is schtick, because I hated every minute of it, but that line actually happened. Doe-eyed looks into the camera and says “I’M THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE!” The audience in my theater ERUPTED with laughter.

This was the moment where I almost walked out of the theater. Once again, she shifts abruptly from soft to badass for no reason other than shitty writing and acting. It’s so bizarre, she doesn’t even change her tone. If she’d ended it with an innocent giggle and a “teehee!” it would not have seemed out of place. There’s a gigantic disconnect between her character and the events of the film. Saying someone is force to be reckoned with does not make them a force to be reckoned with.

As a brief aside, I brought this up following the viewing, and I was greeted with cat-calls and my friends calling me sexist. I’ll admit, this could sound sexist to an extent. In so many words, it sounds like I’m asserting that femininity is inherently weak. Not so, there are plenty of examples of femininity being strong, assertive, and a force to be reckoned with. Kill Bill is a terrific example of this. Beatrix is an unstoppable force, beautiful, yet vengeful. She’s doing everything she can to avenge her daughter’s supposed death, and yet at the end of the film, we see her as soft and loving.

And speaking of loving, there is literally no motivation for any character in the film. There’s not a personal relationship to speak of. People just act and we’re supposed to root for them because they’re white. Or monkeys. That’s not racist, that’s literally a plot-point in the film. We’re supposed to feel for monkeys who are killed off camera. Because they belong to beardy-guy. He actually says with his human mouth, “Goddamnit… they killed my monkeys…” BEAT. Like a human died. That’s how the scene plays out. Then later in the movie, doe-eyed girl is approached by a different younger, doe-eyeder girl, who then asks to have lunch with her. At which point she goes “I DON’T EAT OUT. TOO DANGEROUS.”

Why? She eats out several other times in the movie. Important plot points happen in restaurants. Like her character inexplicably being at the Marriot bombing in Pakistan. Bull shit. I do not believe that her character, who was supposedly based on a real “person” was there for a minute. It was so stupid and convenient. No, Kathryn Bigelow, you just wanted to blow up some brown people while we, as the audience, could watch doe-eyed girl react to the “horrors of war.”

Unlike The Hurt Locker, the cinematography is horrid. We just look at a thing, then look back at doe-eyed girl for how to feel. There’s not a single moment in the film where we, as an audience, are hit with anything remotely controversial. Is torture good? Just look at her face. Is bombing good? Just look at her face.

Which brings me to my largest point and biggest gripe. This movie is just fucking stupid, racist, and a chest-thumping. Yeah, we killed an 80 year-old man because he bombed us. We didn’t stop until that asshole was dead. Go us. Most pop culture that deals with this sort of thing is at least honest about it. It doesn’t purport to be anything more than a good-ol-fashioned “OOH-RAH!” This pretends to be art. At least Kid Rock has the good taste to just come out and say “Warrior” is a masturbatory exercise.

I elected not to use the names of the characters in this review because I didn’t need them. There are two characters that exist and the rest are wholly superfluous. We just look at the white girl and know she’s the good guy. It’s a thoughtless exercise filled with tedium and literally no tension.

The movie opens with the line “I own you.” And for most people watching and enjoying this film, that sentiment is spot-on.

Reply
9" March 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

Zero Dark Thirty is fucking terrible. Oh that felt incredible to say “out-loud.” Goddamn, I have literally never walked out of a movie, but Zero Dark Thirty almost pushed me over the edge. It is actually difficult to have a movie full to bursting with controversy that literally bored me to tears. But what’s worse than boredom? This movie is remarkably stupid and poorly written and acted with all the care and craft of a high-school musical.

The movie opens with some guy torturing some other guy. We’re supposed to think that it’s rough and edgy… because the doe-eyed white lady is clearly concerned. She reminds the suspect to “not be a naughty liar.” So she’s a softie, right? But literally 2 minutes later, scruff beard-man talks to a colleague and says “She’s a raw new recruit, someone to fear.”

Wait. What?

The confusion increases as she spends the rest of the movie bouncing between RoboCop and scared almost… damsel in distress. She’s one of the most inconsistent characters I’ve ever seen, literally no hyperbole here. In the middle of the movie, she’s devastated(?) by another character dying… a character that she’s had two interactions with, the first of which was being mocked by her. The second they’re best friends? Sort of? Then she dies as a result of a monumentally stupid decision that’s telegraphed from a mile away (pro-tip, maybe don’t let terrorists into your military base.) Then she gets blown up. And as an audience we’re sad because we’re told to be sad. Doe-eyed girl is sad, so we’re EXTRA sad. She even starts drinking. *Gasp*

Then, from her sadness comes a moment that was so stupid that I almost left the theater. James Gandolfini goes “WELL HOW TO WE KNOW HE’S IN THIS SUPER-HOUSE? I DON’T BELIEVE THIS!” And then she goes “WELL IN THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE.” I did not make up that line. Some of this review is schtick, because I hated every minute of it, but that line actually happened. Doe-eyed looks into the camera and says “I’M THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE!” The audience in my theater ERUPTED with laughter.

This was the moment where I almost walked out of the theater. Once again, she shifts abruptly from soft to badass for no reason other than shitty writing and acting. It’s so bizarre, she doesn’t even change her tone. If she’d ended it with an innocent giggle and a “teehee!” it would not have seemed out of place. There’s a gigantic disconnect between her character and the events of the film. Saying someone is force to be reckoned with does not make them a force to be reckoned with.

As a brief aside, I brought this up following the viewing, and I was greeted with cat-calls and my friends calling me sexist. I’ll admit, this could sound sexist to an extent. In so many words, it sounds like I’m asserting that femininity is inherently weak. Not so, there are plenty of examples of femininity being strong, assertive, and a force to be reckoned with. Kill Bill is a terrific example of this. Beatrix is an unstoppable force, beautiful, yet vengeful. She’s doing everything she can to avenge her daughter’s supposed death, and yet at the end of the film, we see her as soft and loving.

And speaking of loving, there is literally no motivation for any character in the film. There’s not a personal relationship to speak of. People just act and we’re supposed to root for them because they’re white. Or monkeys. That’s not racist, that’s literally a plot-point in the film. We’re supposed to feel for monkeys who are killed off camera. Because they belong to beardy-guy. He actually says with his human mouth, “Goddamnit… they killed my monkeys…” BEAT. Like a human died. That’s how the scene plays out. Then later in the movie, doe-eyed girl is approached by a different younger, doe-eyeder girl, who then asks to have lunch with her. At which point she goes “I DON’T EAT OUT. TOO DANGEROUS.”

Why? She eats out several other times in the movie. Important plot points happen in restaurants. Like her character inexplicably being at the Marriot bombing in Pakistan. Bull shit. I do not believe that her character, who was supposedly based on a real “person” was there for a minute. It was so stupid and convenient. No, Kathryn Bigelow, you just wanted to blow up some brown people while we, as the audience, could watch doe-eyed girl react to the “horrors of war.”

Unlike The Hurt Locker, the cinematography is horrid. We just look at a thing, then look back at doe-eyed girl for how to feel. There’s not a single moment in the film where we, as an audience, are hit with anything remotely controversial. Is torture good? Just look at her face. Is bombing good? Just look at her face.

Which brings me to my largest point and biggest gripe. This movie is just fucking stupid, racist, and a chest-thumping. Yeah, we killed an 80 year-old man because he bombed us. We didn’t stop until that asshole was dead. Go us. Most pop culture that deals with this sort of thing is at least honest about it. It doesn’t purport to be anything more than a good-ol-fashioned “OOH-RAH!” This pretends to be art. At least Kid Rock has the good taste to just come out and say “Warrior” is a masturbatory exercise.

I elected not to use the names of the characters in this review because I didn’t need them. There are two characters that exist and the rest are wholly superfluous. We just look at the white girl and know she’s the good guy. It’s a thoughtless exercise filled with tedium and literally no tension.

The movie opens with the line “I own you.” And for most people watching and enjoying this film, that sentiment is spot-on.

Reply

Leave a Comment