Month: February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012)




I didn’t want to write about Zero Dark Thirty. Whilst I’m a modest admirer of Kathryn Bigelow’s previous work, the conversation surrounding it, even before it was released over here, was so contentious to me that I found it offputting. One camp says it’s pro-torture, the other says it’s anti-torture, Bigelow announces that it takes a neutral stance while Zizek calls it “Hollywood’s gift to American power”, to the point that opinions on all sides become so thorny that I had decided to just opt out and not worry about it. In the end, though, curiosity got the better of me, I decided to give it a go, and now I see why so many were compelled to have a point of view about it. Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, reuniting after the relatively colossal success of The Hurt Locker, have made a film that is infuriatingly hard to pick apart, not due to its density but due to its elusiveness – this “neutral” approach taken is loaded and hard to unpick, at times seeming to justify ignorance of the underlying politics of its subject matter and other times feeling totally apathetic.