During last night’s USC Scripter Awards Hollywood Reporter award-season columnist Scott Feinberg spoke with former U.S. Rep. Jane Harman about Zero Dark Thirty, and she gave it a ringing endorsement, calling it “magnificent” and saying she’s seen it four times.
This sorta kinda means something with Harman having served on three House committees linked to national security — six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence, four years on Homeland Security. “I know a ton about the material in the movie,” she said. “There are some things [in the film] that are not accurate, but it’s a movie! And, as a movie — at least from this unscientific vantage point — it’s fabulous.”
Feinberg asked if Harman feels ZD30 endorses torture, as the Stalinists have claimed. “I wouldn’t say so,” Harman replied. “I don’t endorse torture, and I was outspoken when I was in Congress about that. I think depicting some things that happened is not unfair.” Did torture produce the information that led the U.S. to the courier who led them to Osama bin Laden? “I think some people think that,” Harman said, “But that is not accurate.”
This last claim of Harman’s differs from what former CIA director Leon Panetta has recently said. On Sunday, 2.3, he told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press that “some of [the information” that led to Osama bin Laden] “came from some of the tactics that were used at that time, interrogation tactics that were used” — alluding to torture. “But the fact is, we…we put together most of that intelligence without having to resort to that.”
But you know what? ZD30 is still too chilly and real-world and ambiguous and there’s no humor to speak of (and certainly no inside-Hollywood humor, which we love) so let’s give the Best Picture award to Argo.