Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

It was Senior Day at the old movie theater yesterday, so I plunked down a few bucks and ambled on in to see a pleasant film. OMG!
by Charlie Leck

I saw Zero Dark Thirty yesterday. It was a remarkable film. It certainly provided a fascinating story line and plenty of tension. It also raised plenty of questions for discussion: (torture, for one, because there were plenty of scenes of it in the film, and also the clear strategy to just kill Osama bin Laden and not to capture him alive).

I’d say I was mostly captivated by the role played by women in the CIA’s tracking down of bin Laden. I am told the film is very accurate, so I am amazed at how long it was before we struck the compound in which he lived after we had become quite certain the terrorist was there.

All around me in the theatre yesterday afternoon were other folks of my own age – seniors, taking in an afternoon flick. More than half of them were women. Now, this is not only a very violent film, but it is also a very realistic one in terms of dialogue. There were a lot of f-bombs as we call them around here. I’m not unfamiliar with the terminology and I’m prone to use the word in various forms and contexts; however, I try my best not to use the word around women and/or kids.

When my wife asked me this morning if the flick would be too violent for her, I told her that I didn’t think so but that the potent language might be. She looked at me and tilted her head in that manner that says, “You got to be kidding?” I think I underestimate women. Er! Let’s revise that to: “I generally underestimate women!”

There were a lot of explosions in the film and an enormous amount of gun play (isn’t that an odd combination of words – gunplay?).

Throughout the film I had to keep reminding myself that bin Laden was the bad guy – that he had killed thousands of innocents in New York City in 2001. America had sworn to bring him down. We were desperate to do it. We devoted millions and millions of dollars to do it. Is that a significant enough rationalization for the use of brutal torture? That’s an immense discussion point with which the film leaves us. Would they – or could they have – captured the maniacal murderer without the weapon of torture? I, in my cozy home here in the Minnesota countryside, can philosophize all I want about the evil and unrighteousness of torture, but I am told by the film to keep remembering the September day in 2001 when the towers fell.

Here was the stunner in this film for me! It was a woman, singularly focused on bringing down Osama bin Laden, who is the central figure in the film’s story. True? Again, I’m told the film is generally accurate when it comes to the history of the hunt and the final clash. If so, she must be regarded as a national heroine and deserved great honors.

It would be an error not to see this film on a big screen and in the company of other viewers. One deserves to feel the enormity of this hunt and sense the visceral reaction of other people to the violence.

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