Yesterday afternoon Timothy Egan posted a N.Y. Times “Opinionator” piece about why Zero Dark Thirty will not win the Best Picture Oscar. I asked a guy who’s closely affiliated with this Kathryn Bigelow-directed, Mark Boal-written film for a response. Here it is:
“Oy! He keeps moving the goal post.
“First he charges the film is inaccurate. Then he admits that CIA leadership folks (who, unlike him, have access to the secret record) say the movie is pretty accurate. But that validation now becomes a flaw because the new goal post is not accuracy but does the CIA agree — or is the film a CIA blowjob?
“Of course, if the CIA said the film was lousy, he would then agree with the CIA. and the CIA’s opinion would shift from being untrustworthy to being spot-on. Then he says the film lacks context. Okay, write your own movie, make your own creative choices.
Egan states that “a quick reminder [in ZD30] that President Bush all but gave up on bin Laden — “I truly am not that concerned about him,” he said less than a year after the murder of 3,000 of our citizens — would have plugged a vital hole.” To which i say Ehan must have been too busy texting his editor that he has a hot column to notice the scene where the Bush-appointed station chief screams at Maya, “I don’t care about Bin Laden! He’s out of the game!”
“By the way, we showed plenty of false starts. We portray the first eight years of the hunt as being wasteful because the name [of the courier] was in the files the entire time.
“He mentions a quote from Jane Mayer, writing in The New Yorker, to wit: “The film doesn’t include a single scene in which torture is questioned. This is also not true.
“Jason Clarke‘s character, the guy who does all the dirty work, quits because his soul is sick…and when it comes to decision time in the boardroom with Leon Panetta/James Gandolfini, he doubts the value of all the interrogations. ‘I spent time in those rooms,’ he says. ‘I would say it’s a soft-sixty” that bin Laden is there. In the context of the scene and indeed of the entire film, the guy who has done the most torture Is the most skeptical about its value, of anyone in the room.
“It’s just become fashionable for a certain class of political reporter which feels threatened by the power of this film and their own dwindling capacity to reach readers, to diss it.”
“Egan doesn’t have a coherent argument. He has an opinion (that ZD30 is bad news) based largely in jealousy, and he drives that opinion around through a variety of logically inconsistent attacks, constantly searching to reach his conclusion , which is that ZD30 isn’t nearly as good as if he had done it.”