30 September 2013

The Trouble With Torture

After the release of Zero Dark Thirty, a huge controversy reared its ugly head in regards to the films graphic depiction of torture. Well, if anybody is qualified to deal with this subject then it'll probably be a politically uninformed movie blogger who spends more time writing about his dick than anything else. So let me begin...

Usually when a film claims to feature a woman hunting for the world’s most wanted man it's about a love starved Kathrine Heigl desperately searching for some buff bloke known only as “The One”. Well that's not exactly what Zero Dark Thirty is about unless I missed something and woman now go gushy over trampy old terrorists. Released in 2012, the film details the long and difficult search for the scabby, global mega-cunt, Bin Laden. In particular we follow Maya, a tough young CIA agent who spends over a decade obsessing over his whereabouts before eventually discovering the exact location of his fortified twat-hovel. The film also goes to great lengths to accurately depict the way in which Bin Laden's complex was raided by American forces in an assault that may or may not result in his death. Spoiler alert- Obviously it fucking did- End of Spoilers.

I'm sure she'll be in a bikini soon...
The film itself was helmed by Kathryn Bigelow who is a director with more balls than a back-alley sex change surgeon’s emergency bucket of bollocks. In the past she's made incredibly entertaining high octane movies such as Near Dark, Hurt Locker and the ridiculously gay, man-love action classic Point Break. Bigelow is also the first ever female to win an Oscar for Best Director which is a great demonstration of just how intelligent she must be. Not because she must have made a great film but because she somehow tricked the misogynistic women hating industry of old sexist bastards into voting for her. That win was for the amazing The Hurt Locker and so it's nice to see her follow up her victory for all the none-men out there with this epic that examines one woman’s success in changing the world. Not only did this film then go on to also win a load of awards but it also took a shit load of cash at the box office too. You'd think that would be enough of a wake-up call for Hollywood to realise that the world is ready for maybe a few more films about women that don't necessarily focus on their gender. Although, a few months afterwards we were treated to a pointless glance at Alive Eve's lovely but dirty pillows in Star Trek: Into Darkness so perhaps not.

I suppose one of the things that would have helped to get the people in to see Zero Dark Thirty would have been the publicity it received from all of the torture controversy that erupted. I guess nothing gets the punters in like some sad twat in an anorak moaning about the glorification of violence. However, this time the sad sack in particular was the American President as it was reported that The West Wings Martin Sheen was appalled by the films moral leanings in depicting the benefits of torture.

To summarise what we see, the film basically shows the CIA torturing the fuck out of some sinister cunt resulting in the acquisition of information that became useful in their search. The methods on display involve stringing the suspects up, stripping them naked and occasionally walking them about with a lead like a dog. So not exactly something entirely pleasurable but nothing that you wouldn't get at your local sex dungeon either I suppose. I think if I was a terrorist being tortured like this by the Americans, I'd just do my best to get an erection and confuse the hell out of them. The two main issues that some people had with the film were that firstly it glorified the use of torture and secondly that torture in reality allegedly never aided the capture of Bin Laden. Well I suppose the easiest way to defend both points is to highlight the simple fact that in Zero Dark Thirty torture doesn't actually do either of this at all.

The film does show a suspect revealing a useful name after being tortured but it turns out to be a name that they'd had all along and just neglected to fully investigate. However there's also a scene in which the same suspect refuses to talk despite the abuse which results in the CIA failing to stop a bomb explosion. So presumably this shows that torture doesn't actually work at all and that the ingenious detective work that the film then goes on to depict is actually the more effective method of acquiring reliable information. In many ways I think the film presents these scenes in an unflinching, unbiased way so that it's kind of allowing you to take from it whatever preconceived opinions you may already have. I suppose I should also clarify that Martin Sheen actually later denied his opposition to this film claiming that he'd actually signed something denouncing it by complete accident. This might sound like a stupid thing for him to have done but considering he's also the man that raised Charlie Sheen I'm guessing it probably won't go down as his life's biggest fucking mistake.

Since then the film has been criticised for several factual inaccuracies but in all honesty anyone getting into a fanny-flap about that can go fuck themselves. Zero Dark Thirty is not a documentary but a movie and as such needs to condense over ten years worth of history down into a three hour running time. Obviously they've not just made shit up but things will have been composited or skimmed over or perhaps even cut for the purposes of the narrative. What the film does is give a feel as to what's happened since 2001 and then encourages the audience to have a conversation about it. If you can imagine that the last decade is just some fat bloke chasing after an ice-cream van then this film would be like a cocktail of his sweat in a mug. Drinking the buttery salt-water down would give a flavour as to what's gone on but for the full story you'd really have to do some extra research as well.

You know shit's going down
when the soldiers have four eyes.
So take it for granted that the film was absolutely brilliant in pretty much every single respect. Direction, writing and acting were all so perfect that if this was a meal there'd be no waste for the body to shit out afterwards. One of the great things about the film too was in how it did educate me as to how certain things actually happened. I know I just said that the film doesn't need to be completely accurate but that's not to say it isn't a fuck load of facts in it anyway. For example I didn't know that Bin Laden's complex was known for months by the CIA before they actually attacked it. Nor did I know that when they did attack the first thing that the professionals did was accidentally crash their secretly designed helicopter into his fucking roof. I don't know if that was them attempting to up the threat level by warning the occupants of their presence or simply a small scale revenge attack for 9/11. Either way though it was fascinating to see how Operation Twat-Killer played out in a completely ‘un-Hollywoodised’ way. If you were hoping the final showdown would end with the macho looking grunts walking towards the camera as the building explodes behind them then this probably isn't the film for you... Also I hate you.

I think that in the end though, what I really loved about Zero Dark Thirty was in how it completely avoided descending into triumphalism. There's a bit that I can't stand near the end of Superman 2 in which the Kryptonian do-gooder flies towards The White House whilst carrying the American flag. Now I've nothing against America particularly, but patriotic bullshit like that kind of causes me to violently puke cynicism down my tits. In any other hands, a film about the execution of the world’s most wanted many could easily have become a “three cheers for America” film. However under the direction of Kathryn Bigelow it instead becomes a movie about how shite and grim the world actually is. Yes the big bearded bastard might have eventually had his evil fucking brains blown out but everything is still fucked and a lot of people have died during his life. The controversy surrounding the depiction of torture here is probably unfair but if a film can get us chatting about issues like that then I guess that's no bad thing. Personally I'm against the use of torture because I don't think it exactly gives us the morale high-ground and is probably a pretty effective recruitment tool for more brainless human bombs to be used against us. Also sometimes when I'm really lonely I Google instructions for homemade explosives so that the Government starts watching everything I do and I get a little free company.
 

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