15 Responses to “Kathryn Bigelow’s Hunt for Bin Laden Flick “Zero Dark Thirty””

  1. But the ending is known by everyone. The special forces on the flimsiest pretext execute the unarmed Ben Laden while the President and aids watch the live feed. Where is the suspense?

  2. “flimsiest pretext?” I grant you that the film is an obvious cash grab by the studio and being made too soon, but are you actually questioning the validity of Bin Laden’s guilt or culpability in the murder of thousands of people in countries around the world? Because he was happy to claim responsibility and did so, repeatedly.

  3. “Too soon”? Maybe though I think those words can be the enemy of art, but I’m not sure “cash grab” quite fits a picture about the hunt for Bin Laden. I don’t really see execs commanding their underlings to get them a piece of that “United 93/hurt Locker money”.

  4. “Too soon” in that it feels a little bit like a victory lap for the Obama administration, in addition to the fact that Bigelow’s original was a work-in-progress when this operation occurred and had to be retrofitted to include current events. If you’re going to dramatize an event as profoundly historic as this, then why not get all the facts straight and let it find it’s proper context first? They were literally reworking the script as the facts were being made public. It doesn’t get any more rushed-to-the-screen than that.

    As for the second part, I do see Disney execs commanding their underlings to get them a piece of that Seal Team Six money. It certainly didn’t hurt a mediocre cardboard cutout of a film like Act of Valor from making over $70 mil on a $12 mil investment.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304066504576345752703592770.html

  5. I have to side with Joel on this one. I liked the Hurt Locker more than I expected but I am trying to keep my expectations low for this one. It is too soon. If you want to make a film about historical events – research comes first! Not the case with this one even if I hope I’m wrong.

  6. I didn’t see it, but I presume that Act of Valor had an unambiguous rah-rah element that appealed to people. I would be greatly surprised if Bigelow follows a similar tack.

    As for historical accuracy, I may care less because virtually no film, no matter how researched, seems to ever actually be accurate, so I don’t generally expect much from movies in that regard. They aren’t history lessons, but interpretive works indicative of the emotional/cultural temperature of the times.

    That said, I cite “W.” in favor of your too soon argument. Bleh.

  7. I would imagine Bigelow is aiming higher than Berg’s The Kingdom, and hopefully she won’t fall into the traps of Greengrass’ Green Zone, but I’m honestly not expecting much either way.

  8. Joel, you are putting words in my mouth that obviously could never apply to me or any reasonable human being. I have no love for murderous psychopaths like Bin Laden. But I also have no love for the death penalty, even when used to kill the most despicable of human beings. To me the act of killing is wrong. He was unarmed and shot dead because he unacceptably moved to dodge a bullet. An act deemed as “hostile” by the Navy Seal(s).

  9. “A victory lap for the Obama administration?” WTF?

    When is it “too soon” or not too soon to make a film based on fact? I mean, did they wait too long — or not long enough? — to make All the President’s Men?

  10. sartre: I put no words in your mouth. I directly quoted you. If I misunderstood your meaning, then I apologize but as written your sentence could easily be misunderstood. Sorry.

    Pierre: You can read my response to Chuck.

  11. Joel: no need to apologize. I clearly never made myself clear enough. My pretext reference did not refer to his numerous crimes against humanity. It referred to the supposed “hostile” behavior when challenged by the Seal(s) in the situation that was used as a pretext for his execution.

  12. I’m late to this argument, but I’m deeply ambivalent about this film all around. Kathryn Bigelow gives good action. We know that. This is a subject that deserves more than that. It might turn out to be more, but the timing is wrong. Not that it’s too soon, but that, as joel said, they started this before real events actually superseded it. I sort of get a fictional wishful thinking movie about the hunt for Bin Laden, but I’m not really comfortable with a recreation of the actual thing. Then again, I was disturbed by the dancing in the street attitude a lot of people had when we found out the fucker was dead.

    The act of killing him I think spoke loudly for itself and we didn’t need the extra jubilation.

    I’m curious to know more about how it was pulled off, but I’d rather just seen an episode of Front Line. I don’t need get my dramatic/action jollies from this story.

  13. Sartre: I’m just glad that sick, deluded murdering fucker is dead. If he accidentally tripped and fell head first into the bullet that was misfired out of a gun or was shot on sight while attempting to surrender, I really don’t care. Some rare individuals on this planet are far beneath contempt and have wrought so much destruction, death, and misery that they have far surpassed any connection to humanity or sympathy. The fact that Al Qaeda is diminished by his absence should be all the justification anyone needs, since that organization is bent only on furthering the killing and destruction that defined Bin Laden. He’s dead and the world is a better place without him.

    I certainly don’t need some Hollywood action thriller to explain to me the importance or future relevance of that. Good luck to Bigelow’s efforts to gain more Oscar glory, but I could personally care less.

  14. I prefer to wait and see what Bigelow has up her sleeve. As for being glad bin Laden is dead — I’m not. I’m glad he got caught.

  15. I respect your view and can empathize with your anger, Joel. I sure didn’t mourn Bin Laden’s death and agree the world is far better for his being out of circulation.

    But I prefer that those who oppose such vile individuals champion through their comparative actions more than barbarism/the law of the jungle. That’s just me.

    As for the film. I thought The Hurt Locker was well-directed and well-acted by Renner but otherwise unexceptional and so I’m not particularly intrigued by her upcoming work.

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