Kathryn Bigelow - Controversy Surrounds Zero Dark Thirty Despite Golden Globes Nominations

The war in the Middle East is a touchy subject in general conversation, let alone on the big screen where it has the power to inspire and influence a vast audience. Kathryn Bigelow's latest movie, Zero Dark Thirty, covers the search and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, delving deep into the vicissitudes of American military operations, highlighting its achievements but noting its distinct dark size. Despite the name referencing a time (00:30), the 'Dark' of the title is apt in tone as well, as its content that includes torture scenes have come under intense debate and criticism. 

Waterboarding and torture are the prime scenes of contention, but writer Mark Boal defends it to the LA Times. "It's a controversial subject, to put it lightly. But nobody denies it happened," he says,  "I think it would have been worse not to include it. It's tough material, it's tough business. There are probably people who would rather this story not be told. There are Tea Party Republicans - I'd have to look up who they were - who were trying to make sure the movie didn't even get made." 

Boal is probably right about there being plenty of people who'd prefer it not to have been made, but according to the CNN it has encouraged the problem of interrogation techniques to be brought back to the spotlight. Peter Bergen wrote: "These visceral scenes are, of course, far more dramatic than the scene where a CIA analyst says she has dug up some information in an old file that will prove to be a key to finding bin Laden." But as Pam Benson has noted, Senate Intelligence Committee will be voting today on the approval of an interrogation and detention program. 

While Zero Dark Thirty's use of torture is certainly controversial, it's also arguably an important topic to be brought to the attention of the public, and surely Kathryn Bigelow's bravery of bringing this to cinema is more than worthy of Golden Globe nominations for Best Director as well as Best Drama Motion Picture.


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