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Kathryn Bigelow writes an op ed in today’s Los Angeles Times, calling herself a “pacifist” and, once again noting that “depiction is not endorsement.”

She writes, “I do wonder if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the
film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and
ordered these U.S. policies, as opposed to a motion picture that brings
the story to the screen.”

Some Capitol Hill lawmakers claim that the movie depicts torture as yielding valuable information that led to Osama bin Laden, but Bigelow says that “Zero Dark Thirty” puts the use of enhanced interrogation techniques into context. The movie also shows torture as leading to misinformation and dead ends.

“Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the
intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for
what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries,
accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden
was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we
all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn’t mean it
was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we
couldn’t ignore. War, obviously, isn’t pretty, and we were not
interested in portraying this military action as free of moral
consequences.”

Variety’s Jon Weisman reacts: “If Bigelow and Boal finessed some facts, or if they were duped, if
you will, into making torture a larger factor than it was (because let’s
be clear – they believe in their movie), then that’s to their discredit
if it was done irresponsibly rather than for a greater good,
cinematically or culturally. In that respect, it’s no different than
“Moneyball” getting some of its facts about the Oakland A’s wrong for no
good reason – and, despite the apparent preposterousness of the
comparison, about as likely to have an impact on our society going
forward. 

“My conclusion, however, is that the strengths of “Zero” far outweigh
its weaknesses, and that the level of controversy surrounding the film
has been unfair.”