Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance Reviews: 'The Bronze' Is "Potty-Mouthed," "Vinegar-Spirited," Racy Gymnast Comedy Sundance Reviews: 'The Bronze' Is "Potty-Mouthed," "Vinegar-Spirited," Racy Gymnast Comedy 'American Sniper' Writer Jason Hall Addresses Concerns About Clint Eastwood's Controversial War Pic 'American Sniper' Writer Jason Hall Addresses Concerns About Clint Eastwood's Controversial War Pic Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

'Zero Dark Thirty' Review and Torture Debate - Senate Committee Probing Bigelow and Boal's CIA Contact [UPDATED]

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 3, 2013 at 3:31PM

UPDATE: The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a review of the contacts between "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal and CIA officials, following the committee chairwoman's "outrage" over the film's scenes that imply "enhanced interrogations."
13
Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow

UPDATE: The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a review of the contacts between "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal and CIA officials to determine if inappropriate access to secret information was given, following the committee chairwoman's "outrage" over the film's scenes that imply "enhanced interrogations." Days after the film's December 19 release, three U.S. Senators issued a statement decrying the depiction of torture in the film as not accurate, and CIA acting director Michael Morell stated that the film "takes significant artistic license." Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for torture documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side," laid out the reported facts of the case against the film's fiction.

On the other hand, The Atlantic writer Mark Bowden writes that No, "Zero Dark Thirty" Is Not Pro-Torture. Bowden, himself an expert on the subject (his most recent book is "The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden"), argues that "torture may be morally wrong, and it may not be the best way to obtain information from detainees, but it played a role in America's messy, decade-long pursuit of Osama bin Laden, and 'Zero Dark Thirty' is right to portray that fact." Read his very thorough argument here.

While it's to be expected that Washington politicians and even Gibney, who has reason to have an anti-torture bias, would step up to present their version of the facts, the more damaging story inside the Hollywood beltway that could hurt the film's Oscar chances is the one Kim Masters wrote for The Hollywood Reporter: The Unorthodox Relationship Between Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal. It's fascinating to see how reporting on their on-off romantic relationship or Boal's supposed behavior on set comes up in casual holiday cocktail conversation. This stuff can be lethal.

Sony may have gone too far with marketing this movie as a true story, purportedly real. Yes, Boal is a bonafide journalist who reported in the trenches alongside newspaper staffers and non-fiction authors. But as he said duringhis and Bigelow's must-see interview on the Charlie Rose show, he didn't have to lay out his sources and back up his quotes. He is writing a fictionalized account, as many Hollywood writers have done. This one is much closer to recent history, however, and therefore carries all sorts of political baggage. As Bigelow and Boal have found out the hard way.

What's more revealing is how much this indie duo seem to threaten the status quo in Hollywood. It was one thing to award a top-notch woman director an Oscar for a small indie film that never grossed much at the box office. Now she's playing in the big show in more ways than one. And getting slammed.

NOV. 26: As soon as Richard Corliss posted his "Zero Dark Thirty" review in Time, the trades went ahead and posted theirs (see round-up below), and movie sites soon followed suit. (The NYT ran interviews with Bigelow and Boal.) I saw the first screening of the final 2 hour and 39 minute film Sunday afternoon at a SAG screening at the Pacific Design Center. At the Q & A afterward, an exhausted Bigelow admitted that she had signed off on the final mix just four days ago.

This article is related to: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain, Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow, Reviews, Reviews, Awards, Awards, Oscars


E-Mail Updates