‘Zero Dark Thirty’ graphically depicts search for bin Laden

Marissa Peduto February 3, 2013 0

The movie “Zero Dark Thirty” is a dramatization of one of America’s most compelling stories; the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden. The code “Zero Dark Thirty” is the military term for thirty minutes past midnight, the exact time that the Navy Seals entered bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
This movie has received an immense amount of attention. It has been critically acclaimed and nominated for many awards, including five Academy Awards and four Golden Globes. While the movie has attracted some praise from critics and viewers, negative criticism and controversy surround the film.
The beginning of the film is brutal and a little hard to watch, as they show very detailed interrogation scenes. These scenes show agents beating and caging the suspected terrorists as well as using a highly debatable method of torture known as waterboarding. According to How Stuff Works, waterboarding is an “enhanced interrogation technique.” A person is held down with a cloth covering their face while the interrogator pours water over the cloth. While the water might not go directly into the person’s nose or mouth, they physically feel as if they are under a wave. In simple words, water boarding makes a person feel as if they are drowning.
There is no question that this movie is violent, but this may be one of the reasons why people are attracted to it. Claire Halpin, a first-year at Elizabethtown College, said, “One of the main reasons I liked this film was because they told the real story. They didn’t sugarcoat anything, and in each scene the audience could feel the intensity.”
One of the main questions this film caused is how accurate the story line is and whether or not this possible lack of accuracy will affect Americans. As with most movies, “Zero Dark Thirty” has aspects of fiction. However, the way that the events were highlighted and the characters were portrayed, I felt as if I was watching a documentary. From the torture scenes to the use of night vision, the film felt very lifelike. Halpin, like many other viewers and myself, believes that the movie told an accurate story.
Are we right? It is still up for debate. There is one thing that I know for certain; a handful of United States senators are concerned that people who see “Zero Dark Thirty” will believe that every event and person portrayed in this film are factual. They believe that this film could negatively shape the American public’s opinion of the CIA. Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain, three United States senators, wrote a letter to Sony with their concerns. They believe that the movie distorts the story and is “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.”
They argue that the film gives a misleading impression that the torturous interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, abuse and sleep deprivation, played an essential part in the search for bin Laden. After this accusation, the board at Sony replied, “We depicted a variety of controversial practices…the film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.”
“Zero Dark Thirty” is a powerful film. It grabs America’s attention and raises difficult questions. This film captivated the audience, and I believe that because of the surrounding controversy, Americans will eventually be led to seek the truth.

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