It hasn’t been easy, these past few days, watching the war rage on about the torture depicted in Zero Dark Thirty. On the one hand, you have people like Chris Hayes, Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin, US senators and the chief of the CIA all condemning Zero Dark Thirty for saying, basically, yeah, we tortured, and yeah, it worked. On the other hand, if you live in my world, you have bloggers like David Poland and film critics who are wholly in denial about the content of the film and are trying to find ways to argue that those scenes show torture doesn’t “work.” The trouble is, they are headed right for a brick wall because the film is crystal clear about torture — though it might take a few viewings of it to see. But it basically says yes, we tortured, and yes, it worked. Them’s the facts as Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow have laid them out.
So that takes us back to our government, what they’re willing and unwilling to reveal, how they want our country’s face to be represented globally. Part of their protest comes from fear. They are afraid that a film like Zero Dark Thirty might incite violence the same way that badly made “video” did. I would say that’s doubtful, given that Zero Dark Thirty should not be sold as the truth, but rather, as a glorious work of art, which it is.