Kathryn Bigelow Defends 'Zero Dark Thirty' Torture Sequences: Are They Defensible?

Film 2013/01/16 21:00:00
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"Zero Dark Thirty," a dramatization of the hunt for and subsequent death of Osama Bin Laden, is one of the most acclaimed films of the year, but thanks to its depiction of torture, the film is also among the most controversial.

Now, director Kathryn Bigelow has spoken to the BBC to defend the film, insisting that the film does not suggest the al-Qaeda leader could not have been found without torture.

The veteran action director, who has made such classic films as "Point Break," "Near Dark" and the Academy Award winning "The Hurt Locker," has said that "that's a misrepresentation of the film," and that the torture is "part of the story... to omit it would have been whitewashing history."

She describes the film as "a portrait of dedication, determination, commitment and sacrifice" that shows "a pretty wide array of tactics" being used over the 10-year hunt. Do you think that the torture sequences in "Zero Dark Thirty" are defensible?
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Top Opinion

  • tom C 2013/01/17 15:42:25 (edited)
    tom  C
    yes...........they weren't torture

    they were enhanced interrogation practices..

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  • ..::localeye::.. 2013/01/24 13:32:03
    Great movie...I really really enjoyed it.
  • republican 2013/01/23 12:28:06
    It is our right as americans to watch watever we want. It would be unconstitutional to say we cannot.
  • Nightmare 2013/01/22 03:46:36
    Find me a country that has never used torture and I will change my answer
  • Red 2013/01/20 22:01:17
    It's supposed to leave you feeling uneasy because the whole situation was horrible. It isn't supposed to "entertain you" in the sense that you get enjoyment out of seeing pain. It is supposed to be a more accurate expression of how this situation played out.
  • arkiii 2013/01/20 14:03:59
    I agree with her when she says torture is "part of the story... to omit it would have been whitewashing history."
  • harley oldman 2013/01/19 21:00:51
    harley oldman
    Hell thats not a torture sequence.......forced to sit through an obama speech would be torture...!
  • republican harley ... 2013/01/23 12:29:20
    Best comment I have ever seen!!!!!
  • harley ... republican 2013/01/25 16:51:45
    harley oldman
  • Darr247 2013/01/19 16:55:13
    She never claimed it was a documentary.
  • Dave 007 2013/01/19 12:59:25
    Dave 007
    Give me the old days when this wasn't a question, it was part of the movie and nobody bitched about it.
  • stobberdobber@msn.com 2013/01/19 09:29:23
    It's entertainment, not a documentary. Oh...I get the confusion. Ok, let me clarify. Michael Moore's "documentary" films don't count. Retard fiction can't be a documentary unless it's the topic of the documentary.
  • Laura Blackburn 2013/01/19 07:16:37
    Laura Blackburn
    I thought the flower dummies from the '70s had grown up - no they just got old, and their idiot kids grew up,!
  • ibsteve2u Laura B... 2013/01/19 17:21:29
    Hmmm...would I be a "flower dummy from the '70s" since got out of high school in the early '70s? Or does the fact that I promptly enlisted at the ripe old age of 17 and shortly thereafter went to Southeast Asia change something?

    As a veteran, I think the use of torture - especially by a bunch of Republican draft dodgers like Bush and Cheney - was not just despicable...it fouled America's honor and placed all current and future warfighters at risk.

    For now the enemy - whoever that enemy is - can quite honestly tell themselves that any world court would have to acknowledge that the United States of America initiated the use of torture - and so the enemy can honestly argue that when you're fighting an enemy who uses illegal tactics, you must resort to using illegal tactics too...

    For it is war, after all, and not some rightie-sit-around-their-comp... festival.
  • RevBH 2013/01/19 06:32:07
    We all know it happens. We don't want to see it.

    Some of us don't want it to happen. If you actually find it entertaining, please explain, as I'm baffled by that. Do you enjoy seeing people suffer? I'd like to understand.
  • TimothyBrianFoley 2013/01/19 03:01:54
    why critque your artwork when its cool
  • sally 2013/01/19 02:57:54
    To omit the torture scenes is like hiding the fact that Osama was a terrorist.
  • I Love this country 2013/01/19 01:44:06
    I Love this country
    Because F**k terrorists, they deserve it and I love seeing them catch it.
  • Georgia50 2013/01/18 18:57:41 (edited)
    It's entertainment, not a documentary. Oh...I get the confusion. Ok, let me clarify. Michael Moore's "documentary" films don't count. Retard fiction can't be a documentary unless it's the topic of the documentary.
  • Jimm 2013/01/18 18:15:12
    Just like with Quentin Tarantino and his use of "the N word" throughout "Django Unchained"...when you are covering a period of history or actual event, a director must stay true to reality or why make the movie? Is the depiction of torture "cool"? Not really, and in any other context it might be outrageous..however...the subject matter of this movie covers elite forces tasked with interrogating terrorists in their search for Bin Laden. Of course they used psychological & physical torture; it's what they were trained to do! So, naturally when Kathryn Bigelow put together this film, it included scenes of torture...and violence!! Big surprise!!
  • PFV 2013/01/18 17:57:19
  • CuresCa... PFV 2013/01/19 06:51:16

    Killing Osama, the leader of Al Qaeda, was murder?? Really??

    dangerfield okay
  • PFV CuresCa... 2013/01/24 08:04:26
  • CuresCa... PFV 2013/01/26 21:18:24
    That's some pretty violent talk you've got going there. Interesting how you profess to being nonviolent yet your mouth doesn't agree.
  • Laura B... PFV 2013/01/19 07:27:50 (edited)
    Laura Blackburn
    I guess you've forgotten the USA citizens the terrorist murdered by sawing off their heads. Where were u on 9-11? Move to a communist or socialist country. See how much your opinion counts.
  • PFV Laura B... 2013/01/24 08:03:44
  • bootlegga 2013/01/18 17:24:14
    If they accurately portray interrogation tactics used by forces in the War on Terror, why not? It's better to be more accurate than less - should we make movies about WW2 where we don't talk about the Holocaust because it was so horrific? Of course not...
  • Nick Perry 2013/01/18 09:13:58
    Nick Perry
    the Passion of the Christ had torture sequences to depict that the director believes to be the truth...so why would this be different? its still a reenactment right?
  • pinokio piccolo 2013/01/18 07:19:11
    pinokio piccolo
    great movie!
    learned how leadership can screw the brilliant minds
  • Cat 2013/01/18 06:32:37
    If it was historically accurate, YES.
  • Tobi 2013/01/18 05:50:16
    *Facepalm! people should never take scenes from movies too freaking seriously!
  • Vitalani 2013/01/18 04:50:26
    Uh, they are reality. The last thing we need is more media outlets covering up what actually occurs.
  • Ian 2013/01/18 04:24:26
    I guess if that's what really happened.
  • Tennessee3501 2013/01/18 01:27:35
    It is promoted a a "true" story! If the scenes depicted actually happened, they should have been included in the movie. I thought the movie was great. I would love to know the real name of the female CIA Analyst who is portrayed in the film! She seems to be the real heroine of the story and we won't get to know her for many years!
  • mae 2013/01/18 01:11:29 (edited)
    While striving for what we are told is authenticity, Ms. Bigelow has crossed the line. Helen Kellar could tell you this-- torture was definitely depicted in this film as the key ingredient in finding OBL.
  • brandon.t.hughes.5 2013/01/17 23:53:59
    Movies depict lots of other things that nobody objects to: drug use, rape, vicious murder, profanity, and some films have included torture--Hostel part 1 and 2. There is no reason to object to it in this when there are others that nobody objects to.
  • David H... brandon... 2013/01/18 03:33:39
    David Hussey
    Other than the fact that it legitimizes the use of torture.
  • Donald ... David H... 2013/01/18 05:00:44 (edited)
    Donald Eric Kesler
    It is also factually inaccurate. Without a doubt, the U.S. needlessly tortured lots of people, but it was the use of conventional intelligence gathering techniques that revealed the location of Osama bin Laden.

  • David H... Donald ... 2013/01/18 05:57:16 (edited)
    David Hussey
    Yes it was inaccurate..... I'm not so much concerned with the artistic license in the production of a Hollywood feature film, nobody claimed it was a documentary, as I am with how that use of artistic license perpetuates the myth that torture is a productive technique.
  • Donald ... David H... 2013/01/18 06:01:47
    Donald Eric Kesler
    As much as it pains me to admit it, your concern is of greater merit than my concern. It is far more important to get the message out that torture is not only ineffective, but detrimental to national security.
  • David H... Donald ... 2013/01/18 06:07:51 (edited)
    David Hussey
    Not to mention being ethically deplorable. I can't help but think of these words whenever I see people justifying the use of torture, or any other unethical action for that matter.

    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistiguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy"
    ~ Christopher Dawson

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