Monday, 18 February 2013

zero dark thirty

Uneasy viewing in Tallaght last night, and not just because of the torture.

I had a queasy feeling that this was a slick production that deliberately set out to justify Bush and Obama's wars and their acceptance of torture as a legitimate weapon.

The character of  the oh-so-sensitive but determinedly patriotic "Maya" played by Jessica Chastain reinforced my queasy feeling. Maya is portrayed by Jessica as a beautiful CIA agent who has all the charm you need to win over a partisan audience to her producer's point of view.

She is the female John Wayne without the guns but not without the hired guns and water boarders.  We are back to the days of the good guys and the bad guys, cowboys and Indians. And the cheer lines are there after the horrors.

As torturers cannot even yet be depicted as heroes for cinema-goers, Maya is always at one remove from the torturers.  The horror on her face, while it is happening, assures us that here is a human being, just doing her duty to her  country.

As with the cowboy and Indian myths, America is good, Bin Laden is bad. So kill Bin Laden.

The film begins with a dark screen with frantic voices.  This is meant to depict 9/11. There is no serious question asked about why or how this atrocity happened.  We are expected to know.  Didn't George W Bush tell us it was Bin Laden.

The lies of the neo-cons, post 9/11, are air-brushed out of the narrative.  The war in Iraq - scarcely a mention.  It has to be good guys and bad guys - or good dolls and bad guys.

It was the perfect propaganda entertainment for the convinced and the brain-washed.

When I was told that American audiences did not take kindly to the film, I wondered about Kathryn Bigelow, the award-winning producer - was I misjudging her.

Was she maybe telling it as it was, warts and all?  She did point to the hypocrisy of Barack Obama by juxtaposing a torture scene in the film with a real TV clip of the President telling his audience that America does not do torture.

But then again, Obama was not the "hero" of this production.  The real hero was the CIA and the young woman who described herself as the "mother-fucker" (sic) who had found Bin Laden's hiding place.

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