Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta Approves Of 'Zero Dark Thirty,' Says Torture Was Not 'Critical Element' To Bin Laden's Capture

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist February 5, 2013 at 9:42AM

Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty” is an absolute compendium of blink-and-you'll-miss-them acting roles, from the narratively vital (Joel Edgerton) to the completely jarring (John Barrowman, what?). One of the most essential, though, comes from James Gandolfini as then-CIA director Leon Panetta, and the man himself has recently thrown some insight -- and kudos -- toward Bigelow's drama.
6
Zero Dark Thirty Leon Panetta

Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty” is an absolute compendium of blink-and-you'll-miss-them acting roles, from the narratively vital (Joel Edgerton) to the completely jarring (John Barrowman, what?). One of the most essential, though, comes from James Gandolfini as then-CIA director Leon Panetta, and the man himself has recently thrown some insight -- and kudos -- toward Bigelow's drama.

Due to step down as U.S. Defense Secretary this month, Panetta called “Zero Dark Thirty” a “good film,” but recognized it as a fiction, albeit one capturing a more accurate vision than most. "I think people ought to make their own judgments,” he said. “There are parts of it that give you a good sense of how the intelligence operations do work. But I also think people in the end have to understand that it isn't a documentary, it's a movie."

As Jessica Chastain's CIA character finds out in the opening reels of the film, torture methods were used on detainees to gain information on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts. This depiction has garnered an onslaught of criticism from politicians, rights advocates, and the acting CIA head, Michael Morell, but Panetta believes the methods were helpful, yet not entirely pivotal to the case's direction.

“[There's] no question that some of the intelligence gathered was a result of some of these methods," he explained. "But I think it's difficult to say that they were the critical element. I think they were part of the vast puzzle that you had to put together in order to ultimately locate where bin Laden was." Asked then if bin Laden would've been found without the interrogation methods, he replied, "I think we would have found him, even without that piece of the puzzle."

So another voice had added to the melee, but with Panetta's background and integral role in the real-life events, a much more insightful one. But what did he think of Gandolfini's performance in the film?

He remained mute on that point, but offered instead, "Somebody came up to me and said I saw you in that movie but you lost a lot of weight." [Herald Sun]

This article is related to: Zero Dark Thirty


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates