Time Magazine’s new cover profile of Kathryn Bigelow may not change your mind if you, like many of Zero Dark Thirty’s detractors, think the celebrated film’s torture scenes are “grossly inaccurate and misleading.” The article doesn’t really take sides on the issue, instead allowing readers to draw their own conclusions based on quotes from both the movie’s makers and opponents like former CIA director Michael Hayden (who calls the film’s interrogation scenes “inaccurate and overwrought and just plain wrong”).
Still, Bigelow does make a compelling argument for why Zero Dark portrays torture the way it does. “Where there’s clarity in the world, there’s clarity in the film,” the director explains. “Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That’s clarity. And where there’s ambiguity in the world, there’s ambiguity in the film.” She also doesn’t hedge when describing what she sees as the movie’s message: “I think that it’s a deeply moral movie that questions the use of force. It questions what was done in the name of finding bin Laden.” And, for the record, she’s quoted as saying that torture is “reprehensible.”
All in all, the profile is a great read whether you support the movie or deplore it – mostly because Bigelow, a conceptual painter-turned-filmmaker who rubbed elbows with figures like Andy Warhol and Philip Glass as a young artist, is a fascinating figure in and of herself.
Her dedication to telling contemporary stories is especially interesting. As Bigelow tells Time editor Jessica Winter, ”If you pick challenging, contemporaneous subjects that create controversy and noise around them, it puts you with Apocalypse Now, All the President’s Men, A Clockwork Orange, In the Heat of the Night, Battle of Algiers. That’s some very good company.” The Oscar winner’s next project, appropriately enough, will be another topical collaboration with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal. If it’s half as provocative as the pair’s bin Laden thriller, audiences should be satisfied. Read more at Time’s website.
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