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Zero Dark Thirty--Movie Review

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Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty


The director of this movie, Bigelow, demonstrates how skilled she is in putting a story on the screen. She masters the art and technique of creating an intense world that will probably reel in some box-office profits. However, she lost track of the big picture surrounding bin Laden.
Bigelow is not much of an artist in search of the truth about Osama bin Laden's role in the 9/11 attack and much less the neoconservatives' PNAC plan to colonize Eurasia, starting with some "catastrophic and catalyzing event----like a new Pearl Harbor."

Instead, she seems to ride on the surface of all sorts of issues associated with the alleged assassination of Osama bin Laden. We do know for a fact that Osama bin Laden was a CIA scion since the 1980s. The history of that relationship should not be lost in all the wild-west assassination of the man.

In her previous movie, The Hurt Locker, Bigelow mastered the search for some glimpse of truth and she triumphed in movie-making technique. In The Hurt Locker, we learned how a blue-collar, factory worker, Sergeant First-Class William James, found some higher meaning in his life. Defusing bombs gave Sergeant James a sense of purpose, mostly derived from a narcotic-type adrenaline high that consumed him and his family life. We see in this great movie just how "War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning." This phrase is the title for a book by Chris Hedges who begins by saying, "The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug."

In Zero Dark Thirty Bigelow demotes herself to a mere technician in search of captivating an audience without considering about big questions, particularly about evil torture. She succeeds in this approach, although self-respecting movie-goers should demand more than merely reenacting a stealth operation. Whether intentionally or not, Bigelow gets caught up in the details of how the Special Operations soldiers carry out their business--in this case an assassination--just as she is blinded by her movie-making techniques.

In Bigelow's new movie, she looks only at the trees and loses all vision for the forest. The result is that she plays up to torture that the neo-conservatives want us all to believe.

It's the muck that Dick Cheney proudly flaunts on mainstream media. Likewise, Jose Rodriguez, former director of NCS, was responsible for destroying the videotapes of the CIA's interrogations. Both men are yet to face prosecution for their crimes; meanwhile lowly soldiers, like Bradley Manning, sit in solitary confinement for more than a year to have their day in court. But this type of big picture is lost on Bigelow and her script writer, Boal. For this reason the story is more fitting for TV, where the audience pays nothing for viewing other than tolerating the commercials.

Worse yet, Bigelow ignores so much more about American's flawed and destructive invasion into Iraq. It's a pity to see such talent miss the bigger view or moral controversy or even just a bit of truth. For starts many, if not a majority, of CIA and military personnel condemn torture.

As artists, Bigelow and Boal had a golden opportunity at least to present any one of several mysteries, questions or contradicting "facts" about Osama bin Laden and, more important, about the highly dubious official story about the 9/11 attack. Many people believe the 9/11 attack was an inside job, considering the evidence.

We know that Osama bin Laden had a relationship with the CIA since the 1980s. Questions arise from reports that a hospital in Dubai provided bin Laden for kidney-dialysis treatment during 9/11/2001. A week or so before 9/11 CIA agents spent several days meeting with Osama bin Laden. The French daily newspaper Le Figaro confirmed this fact and reported it on October 2001. See Alexandra Richard, at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/RIC111B.html, the source of this information: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO311A.html.

A CBS anchor (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-325887.html), among others, confirms this. This report is controversial like most other "facts" about bin Laden and just about everything pertaining to 9/11 (see: http://www.911myths.com/index.php/Bin_Laden_met_the_CIA).

There are many unsettled questions about America's destruction and occupation of Iraq and other parts of Eurasia. And then there's that entire controlled demolition of the World Trade Center Towers with the use of thermite that pales the story of a single assassination. By focusing on the mere choreographics of a Spec Ops' assassination mission, the audience should feel thirsty for some higher purpose why our taxes pay for the killing of a man who worked for the CIA.

Director Bigelow and script-writer Boal could have developed one or two main characters to focus a controversy, like they did successfully in The Hurt Locker.

Instead they seem inadvertently to portray the good guys as thugs who apply torture like underground mafia criminals. In the movie, Ammar seemingly provides the location of Osama bin Laden freely, but the specter of torture looms over his head. The scene was ambiguous and seems to advocate torture as a useful tool. This approach undermines the story line. The audience has no one with whom they can consistently sympathize, assuming the audience does not identify with brutal torturers. Boal's script drips of such story flaws. The plot is torturous.

In a time of our history when regular Americans rightfully have a low trust with their government officials, many people even doubt that this Seal Team actually did kill Osama bin Laden. And even if they did kill him, did he really have any input into to total destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7? Note the word--demolition. Note also how we never found any plane that allegedly exploded part of the Pentagon. Nor do we dare ask why Building 7 was demolished neatly in a free-fall and into its own footprint. Instead of questioning at least one major issue bundled up in this Osama bin Laden story, Bigelow and Boal merely reenact an assassination that you and I paid for in taxes.

Now more than ever many Americans recognize that the power of large corporations from global banks to oil conglomerates and defense contractors apply overwhelming power over the U.S. government.

Many of our elected officials pander to and even partner up to these barons of industry. Most Americans--the ones with a glimmer of curiosity--know that our elected officials seldom serve the greater good of society. Instead, they cater to the powerful lobby system.

Most Americans smell the filth of the corporatist power and dominance over our government, torture being only one of many symptoms of a corrupted justice system and government. Many Americans have learned to doubt and correctly criticize our moral compass spinning helter-skelter. The corporatist form of empire has already bamboozled them long enough.

Most Americans did not just fall of the turnip truck. They are smart. They know that torture is as wrong as the false justifications for obliterating and occupying Iraq.

Maybe Bigelow and Boal were swept up in the excitement of working with a couple of hot-shot Spec Ops dudes. Maybe they have joined up with the extreme right-wing neocons who advocate many strange things like torture or lying to justify the bombing of a country without any legitimate reason other than a self-inflicted Pearl-Harbor type catastrophe.


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Mark Biskeborn is a novelist: Mojave Winds, A Sufi's Ghost, Mexican Trade. Short Stories: California & Beyond. Poetry & Essays. For more details: www.biskeborn.com See Mark's stories on Amazon.com or wherever books are (more...)
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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