Article image

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty.

Celluloid scripture?

When director Oliver Stone produced JFK, which fantasized that the assassination of President Kennedy resulted from a vast and byzantine conspiracy, he was accused of historical revisionism. Stone took the charges in stride and announced that his next movie would be not about one man but about “the men who shot Liberty Valance.”

Stone’s quip came to mind amid the brouhaha surrounding Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. On the positive side, the film has been touted as a “stylistic masterwork” and named by a number of critics as best picture of 2012. Negatively, the movie has been charged with ethical numbness and with mangling history, particularly in graphic scenes of torture that imply—erroneously—that such brutality yielded vital information leading to bin Laden.

 

This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $4.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.