Monday, January 21, 2013

A review of Zero Dark Thirty

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Katherine Bigelow's movie about the investigation and subsequent liquidation of Osama bin-Laden is a work of genius. Bigelow has a vision of what she wanted to present and wasn't about to let anyone dictate what she was going to say.

The movie focuses on CIA agent Maya (a fictitious name of course) who is relentless in her pursuit of bin-Laden. We don't know a lot about Maya except that she was recruited out of high school and has no boyfriend, spouse or all that many friends. She's a dogged detective and grows from being squeamish about our enhanced interrogation techniques to being--if not a participant--a believer in them.

She tracks bin-Laden for a decade, following up what she believes are credible leads while butting heads with the DC CYA types. She finds a thread, pulls it and begins to see her work produce results. Jessica Chastain played her perfectly.

Many media outlets have opted to focus on the enhanced interrogation such as sleep deprivation, man-handling and water boarding because the last thing they want anyone to believe is that these measures work and that damn cowboy Bush may have been right in sanctioning them. Several noted senators have also said that this is not the case but our legislators are kept out of the loop on a lot of information because they have the tendency to leak it--but I digress.

The actual take down of bin-Laden is almost anti-climactic after seeing how Maya puts the pieces together. It makes one proud that we have people like her and the other CIA agents portrayed. people who are willing to pursue America's enemies to the ends of the earth, live in hell holes around the globe and provide information that allows our special operators to exterminate those who wish us ill. It's not pretty, it's not happy but it is essential to keeping us protected.

Unfortunately, these people are the first ones vilified when things go south. Benghazi was not the fault of the CIA, I'm positive they warned those who needed to know but that warning was ignored and politics came into play. The same is probably true of the recent Algerian fiasco. If I were president, you can be damn sure that the first thing I would do after being inaugurated would be to increase the funding for black operations and the obtaining of human intelligence because this war is not over.

There was concern that Bigelow would make a movie that would show Obama as a brilliant decision make who was willing to take the risk. In fact, Obama is shown in one small segment on a TV where he says the US does not torture and the CIA agents all wince because they know that the intel gleaned from such measures is, in fact immeasurable. And for the record, black sites, rendition and enhanced interrogation techniques are still being used even today.

9 out of 10 stars. Bigelow did it right.

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