Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty

My first thought when I saw this news was, good grief, leave these people alone. They made a movie. It’s a movie. Just a movie. Or … maybe it’s a matter of national security.

Apparently, the Senate Intelligence Committee is reviewing CIA records of contacts agency officials may have had with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal during the making of “Zero Dark Thirty.” I guess the Committee wrote a letter to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton saying that the movie is “grossly inaccurate.”

Again, it’s a movie. Have the filmmakers ever said it’s completely factual? How could it be completely factual, unless the people who were actually there made the movie themselves as it was happening? It’s a movie based on events and people involved with the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Nothing more, nothing less.

New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Kathryn Bigelow and Jessica Chastain
Kathryn Bigelow and Jessica Chastain at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

But wait, the committee has said they have no plans to interview the filmmakers. That makes no sense to me. If you’re going after a movie — repeat, movie — because it’s not factual, wouldn’t the filmmakers be on the list of people you’d want to talk to?

The CIA’s acting director, Michael Morell, also criticized the movie as “not a realistic portrayal of the facts” in a letter posted on the agency’s website. Senate panel investigators will attempt to determine whether the agency gave filmmakers “inappropriate” access to secret material and whether CIA personnel are responsible for the portrayal of “enhanced” interrogation practices in the movie about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. So, it boils down to whether the waterboarding is factual? I’m asking, because I have no idea.

Bigelow and Boal have repeatedly denied being given any access to classified information. Sony said in a statement: “As the studio distributing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ in the United States, we are proud of this important film. Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal and their creative team have made an extraordinary motion picture and we fully support bringing this remarkable story to the screen.”

Read more about what Sony co-chair Amy Pascal had to say.


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