Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Venice Review: Tom McCarthy's 'Spotlight' With Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber & Stanley Tucci Venice Review: Tom McCarthy's 'Spotlight' With Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber & Stanley Tucci Watch: Amazing First Trailer For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell & Rachel Weisz Watch: Amazing First Trailer For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell & Rachel Weisz Venice Review: Cary Joji Fukunaga's 'Beasts Of No Nation' Starring Idris Elba Venice Review: Cary Joji Fukunaga's 'Beasts Of No Nation' Starring Idris Elba The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival On The Rise 2015: 20 Screenwriters To Watch On The Rise 2015: 20 Screenwriters To Watch Review: Netflix's 'Narcos' Starring Wagner Moura And Boyd Holbrook Review: Netflix's 'Narcos' Starring Wagner Moura And Boyd Holbrook Joaquin Phoenix Says He Doesn’t Think Making A Blockbuster Would Be "Fulfilling," Calls Chris Pine "F*cking Genius" Joaquin Phoenix Says He Doesn’t Think Making A Blockbuster Would Be "Fulfilling," Calls Chris Pine "F*cking Genius" Watch: Chloe Moretz Fights The Others In First Trailer For 'The 5th Wave' Watch: Chloe Moretz Fights The Others In First Trailer For 'The 5th Wave' James Bond Author Says Idris Elba Is "Too Street" To Play 007, And Bond Is "Weak" In 'Skyfall' James Bond Author Says Idris Elba Is "Too Street" To Play 007, And Bond Is "Weak" In 'Skyfall' Cary Fukunaga Says He "Wasn't Involved" With 'True Detective' Season 2, Explains His Departure From 'It' Cary Fukunaga Says He "Wasn't Involved" With 'True Detective' Season 2, Explains His Departure From 'It' Andrew Garfield Talks “The Pressure To Get It Right” for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Films & If He'll Do Another Franchise Andrew Garfield Talks “The Pressure To Get It Right” for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Films & If He'll Do Another Franchise Fall 2015 TV Preview: Our 25 Most Anticipated Shows Fall 2015 TV Preview: Our 25 Most Anticipated Shows 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite Looks Like That Black-And-White Version Of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Isn't Getting A Blu-Ray Release After All Looks Like That Black-And-White Version Of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Isn't Getting A Blu-Ray Release After All The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far 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 17 Copycat Films Spawned From Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction' 17 Copycat Films Spawned From Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'

Kathryn Bigelow Issues Statement On Torture In 'Zero Dark Thirty,' Talks Topic With David Letterman, Peter Travers & Much More

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist January 17, 2013 at 11:03AM

Now that “Zero Dark Thirty” has gone into wide release, moviegoers finally have the opportunity to understand the film’s awards season buzz, the subsequent debates stemming from its measured depiction of U.S.-led torture, and lastly, just how egregiously wrong-headed those arguments actually are. Still, Kathryn Bigelow kept a straight face up until Oscar nominations were announced, but now she’s taken to the press circuit to make her opinions on the issue as overt as they’ve ever been.
2
Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow

Now that “Zero Dark Thirty” has gone into wide release, moviegoers finally have the opportunity to understand the film’s awards season buzz, the subsequent debates stemming from its measured depiction of U.S.-led torture, and lastly, just how egregiously wrong-headed those arguments actually are. Still, Kathryn Bigelow kept a straight face up until Oscar nominations were announced, but now she’s taken to the press circuit to make her opinions on the issue as overt as they’ve ever been.

While screenwriter Mark Boal -- thus far the main press spokesperson for the “Zero Dark Thirty” creative team -- has handled the brunt of the film’s criticism and political attacks, Bigelow has now broken her relative silence, and come forth with her views on perhaps the most pervasive and forceful of the controversies: the issue of the drama’s torture scenes within CIA black sites. Lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have labeled the film “"grossly inaccurate and misleading" from this aspect, but Bigelow herself -- in a recent, must-read statement to the LA Times -- wondered “if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and ordered these U.S. policies, as opposed to a motion picture that brings the story to the screen."

“Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement,” Bigelow explained at her op-ed’s beginning, and beyond tackling an artist’s responsibility to the material portrayed, she also commented on the real-life timeline from which she and Boal constructed their film. “Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue,” she said. “As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn't mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn't ignore."

That insistence stays consistent throughout all of the director’s appearances, whether talking with David Letterman or a peculiarly exuberant Peter Travers, and in a generous world, her comments would initiate a decline in the contradictory backlash. That prospect seems none too likely however, so check out Bigelow’s interviews below while the storm blows over, as well as a new CIA featurette, clip and Oscar TV spot for the film.

This article is related to: Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow


The Playlist

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


E-Mail Updates