Sunday, January 27, 2013
Zero Dark Thirty!
Have you seen Zero Dark Thirty? We saw it this week. And as a knee jerk lib who opposes most every war waged as a profit making endeavor financed by the blood of the poor and ignorant I was prepared to hate this movie. Brainwashed by the teeth gnashing outrage on the left and by chickenhawk congresspeople about the alleged implication that torture works and Dick Cheney's sadistic world view was vindicated, I was prepared to be appalled.
Well guess what? I was not. Got a minute? Let me explain.
The first 20 minutes feature a grizzled CIA thumb breaker doing his thing.
Water boarding some poor Afghan schlub who maybe knew something, jamming him in a tiny box, hitting him in the face, hanging him from the ceiling by his arms. Yeah it was hard to watch but ya know what? It fuckin happened. Not once in this entire excruciating 20 minutes did the guy suddenly blurt out "yep Bin Laden is at some house in Abbotabad". He said nothing. And the entire torturing stuff in the film was eventually thrown away as meaningless bullshit because it didn't work. To think that this movie implies that the torture worked is simply not paying attention at best and at worst, denying reality much like the right does. Don't get into that mindset.
There are other things about this movie I could not believe I was thinking. The CIA is comprised of a lot of selfless do gooders who actually want to make the world safer. Not in the talking reasoning understand why they hate us kind of way I tend to go with, but in the there are some bad motherfuckers out there blinded by superstition and just plain evil and we have to kill them before they hurt innocents again. Yes, it made realize there are people out there who get out of college and don't want to go to Wall Street so they can rob you blind. There are people who for whatever reason, want to stop the evil. And as in the Jessica Chastain character (say hello to Oscar) they end up friendless and jaded. The last scene in the movie is every bit as heartbreaking as the end of Brokeback Mountain which still makes me tear up.
Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated for an Oscar. What a joke. She's a 60 year old woman humping across the world making movies like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty and keeping you on the edge of your seat. She is the anti-Gary Marshall who makes feel good bullshit that makes one want to puke. Yet she only gets respect when the Academy wants to stick it to James Cameron's hubris. Nonsense.
Go see Zero Dark Thirty. And be honest. For a few seconds admit that you wish you had joined the CIA and worked on something important. Even admit that for a fleeting second you didn't think "yeah I could slam that fucker around a lil bit". It's not wrong. It's human.
That's what Zero Dark Thirty did for me. It made me feel something. Maybe it wasn't good stuff I felt, but it was something. That's what movies are supposed to do.