Zero Dark Thirty’s Wrong and Dangerous Conclusion

January 7, 2013

It’s difficult for one filmmaker to criticize another. That’s a job best left to critics. However, in the case of Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, an issue that is central to the film — torture — is so important that I feel I must say something. Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow have been irresponsible and inaccurate in the way they have treated this issue in their film. I am not alone in that view. Yesterday, Senators Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter to Michael Lynton, the Chairman of Sony Pictures, accusing the studio of misrepresenting the facts and “perpetuating the myth that torture is effective,” and asking for the studio to correct the false impression created by the film. The film conveys the unmistakable conclusion that torture led to the death of bin Laden. That’s wrong and dangerously so, precisely because the film is so well made.

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