The movie turned out to be excellent.
¤ It was less violent than I expected. In fact, there was far more gore in the trailers that came before the show. So ladies, you're right! I needn't have worried after all.
¤ That stuff about "endorsing torture" was way overblown. There were maybe six brief scenes showing torture, and these were understated compared to what really happened. Pfah! The torture bits weren't even convincingly acted.
¤ It was quite clear that, between classic human intel and intel gained through torture, the classic intel was much more valuable. In one of the final torture scenes — which came maybe 15 minutes into the movie — the "subject" is so destroyed that he can't even answer the interrogator's questions coherently. So what does that tell you about endorsing torture?
¤ Finally, I was worried that the bad guys would be presented as cardboard cutouts, as often happens in movies like this. Although the director didn't exactly take pains here, she did manage to portray the terrorists and their pals in a respectful light at least. I didn't get a strong sense of being propagandized . . . although in truth I know that there's always a slant, whether I'm aware of it or not.
ZERO DARK THIRTY is not about the right-and-wrong of American wars, of torture, or of anything else. It's just your basic spy-vs-spy tale, with a little bit of oomph added from its connection to recent news headlines, headlines that Americans feel a strong connection to.
It's also, ironically enough, a very FEMINIST story.
You heard me right. Feminist.
The central character is an engaging, self-assured woman who prevails in the face of male incompetence and timidity. And at no time does she have to compromise or negate her "femininity" in order to succeed. Instead, she prevails by using her brains, her intuition, and some good old-fashioned leadership.
All wars should be fought this way, dontcha think?
But uh . . . now I think I'm starting to . . .
Image source: bbc.co.uk (public domain)