The film “Zero Dark Thirty” has touched quite a cord in this country, such as with Peter Henne’s post below that responds to my own post further below. To his credit, he opens up another strand of the wider debate this film has touched off. My own reflection delves into the torture controversy writ large, as well as the the purpose and role of art in film making form. Peter uses the latter to widen our view into what this film has to say about civil-military relations in American society.
Peter, I wonder if I could draw you out further on several facets of your observation. First it would be useful if you could go into more detail about specifically how Karthryn Bigelow and Mark Boal could have depicted the military personnel in their film more accurately. I take your point that “The Hurt Locker” was riddled with problems in this regard, and not surprisingly complained about widely by military observers. But while the film spends much more time focused on CIA operatives and analysts, it appears that Zero Dark does a much better job of depicting military personnel and how they do what they do. After all, the journalist Boal spent legions of hours with Seal Team 6 and military commanders from CENTCOM.