If you didn’t know about the role Osama bin Laden played in the course of our recent history, then much of the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” would be very boring. The movie covered the years the United States tracked bin Laden as investigators finally put together information that led a few in the CIA to believe they finally knew his location. But as an audience member, investing in the build-up to the raid is worth every moment!
The recreation of the raid to kill bin Laden is riveting and I felt somewhat exhausted after the raid was over! The movie was profound and at the end I was reminded how proud we all should be to be Americans.
There has been controversy leading up to the release of “Zero Dark Thirty.” The original release was set for close to the presidential election in November. Nationwide release was Friday, January 11, 2013. Many were critical of a movie about a positive high point in Obama’s first term being released shortly before the election. The release of the movie was delayed. For the purpose of Oscar eligibility the movie was released in select cities before the end of 2012. Nationwide release was Friday, January 11, 2013.
Senator John McCain (R – AZ) and others have been critical of the torture scenes and Congressman Pete King (R – NY) and others have criticized the Obama Administration for allegedly sharing classified information with the producers of the movie.
The killing of Osama bin Laden has been a major accomplishment of the Obama Administration.
After seeing the movie I get the sense that the criticism and controversy about this movie are politically motivated. The interrogation (torture) scenes in the beginning of the movie are very intense, but there is a humane aspect of the process that finally leads to getting viable information from the detainee. It’s important to note that some critics say the torture scenes are done with “dramatic license,” and that there’s no evidence that torture actually led to usable information in the real-life hunt for bin Laden.
Hollywood is often criticized for its “liberal agenda,” but in “Zero Dark Thirty” Hollywood did not take advantage of an obvious opportunity to tout the killing of Osama bin Laden as a major accomplishment of President Obama. With the exception of actual news video of Obama in one brief scene, the movie does not focus on President and any role he played as Commander-in-Chief.
The movie did show a very humane side of the American SEAL Team that killed bin Laden - how accurate those scenes are may be debated. In the movie, our soldiers took great care to avoid hurting the children in the compound. I do have one question that I have not heard answered. According to the movie there was at least one military dog on the raid. Did the dog make it back?
The use of hand-held cameras and the visual tone of the film projected the feeling that you were watching a documentary. The use of actual news video and audio further shed a realistic light on the movie. While “Zero Dark Thirty” is “based on first-hand accounts of actual events, I think we can all be certain that it may not be completely accurate. There is always criticism of movies that are based on fact but do not always follow the facts precisely.
There is precedent for movie-makers to take ‘creative license’ with history. As movie-goers, we should never go to a movie and expect a history lesson. Are we so lazy that we can’t take the time to read and check on actual history? Do you think those who produce movies have a responsibility to deliver actual history? We go to movies to be entertained and history consistently provides compelling story lines for entertainment. It should never be the responsibility of movie-makers to educate us – their responsibility is to entertain us!
If the hunt for, and the raid to kill, Osama bin Laden is interesting to you, then go see “Zero Dark Thirty.” But remember: it’s a movie, not a history lesson. And make sure you go to the bathroom or get a snack before the raid begins – you don’t want to miss a moment of it!