Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far 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

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.


E-Mail Updates