N.Y. Post critic Kyle Smith has very wisely and fairly slapped down Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln while appropriately tributing Zero Dark Thirty. I will never slag Smith again for anything ever again. Well…I’ll try not to, I mean. He certainly has my respect and allegiance this morning.
“Does Zero Dark Thirty condone torture?,” he writes. “Some think it does, but the film is a queasy, disquieting experience. It’s anything but a whitewash. It invites adults to think for themselves. Lincoln, by contrast, paints its central character as a folksy but brilliant charmer who never did anything worse than cut a few patronage deals to get the 13th Amendment passed.
“Zero Dark Thirty is an honest film that is promoting open and bold discussion. Lincoln, for all the (tedious) detail of its many scenes of negotiation and minor compromising that simply add a new layer of hard-headed shrewdness to the existing Lincoln legend, is at its core simple-minded Spielbergian sentiment that makes Americans feel warm, fuzzy and righteous.
“Zero Dark challenges the audience; Lincoln flatters it.
“Steven Spielberg has suckered the public into believing there once a time when it was always obvious which side of the issue was right and saints wielded the levers of power. There wasn’t, and they didn’t.”