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Who We Are In The Dark: Zero Dark Thirty & Torture…

That Zero Dark Thirty should come under fire for its use and portrayal of torture is not surprising. The film deserves to spark debate about how we respond to these sorts of threats, and critically examine our claim to the moral high ground. However, the debate seems overly simplistic. It has been suggested that the controversy over torture cost director Kathryn Bigelow a Best Director nomination, and that’s a shame. The fact she’s felt to the need to respond to these relatively shallow commentaries is less than heartening.

Zero Dark Thirty has a lot to say about torture. It’s a lot of thoughtful and insightful and nuanced stuff, and Zero Dark Thirty actually gets to the nub of the issue, very clearly condemning the culture of “enhanced interrogation”, in a way that is much more effective than any of the commentators seem to realise.

zerodarkthirty4

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Watch! Dark Zero Thirty Trailer!

So far, Dark Zero Thirty has been a bit of an unknown quantity in the end-of-year Oscar race. Following the team responsible for assassinating Osama Bin Laden, Kathryn Bigalow’s movie has to be on the short-list for awards contention. It received a fairly radical change of course yesterday, meaning that it might not open in the States as early as expected. Instead, it looks like it might be pushed back to January for a wide release, following a more traditional Oscar pattern. It’s a roll-out strategy that was worked quite well for contenders in other years.

Reportedly, the film’s release had been considered for the November elections, but it may now open wide in the States only slightly early than it opens here. (The notion of being used as a political volleyball in various election-related op-eds was probably less-than-appealing to the film.) It releases in Ireland on 25th January 2013, and we have the new trailer below. Bigalow has assembeld one hell of an ensemble, with some fantastic actors putting in appearances. I am very much looking forward to this one. Enjoy.

Captain America: The New Deal (Review/Retrospective)

Oh, God — How could this happen here?

– Steve Rogers, Captain America #1

It seemed inevitable that Captain America would have to respond to September 11th. After all, the terrorist atrocities were an attack on the American way of life, and the iconic superhero was perhaps the hero best equipped to explore the scars left by the still-recent attacks upon the American psyche, much as his Secret Empire plot allowed him to respond to the Watergate Scandal. Unfortunately, John Ney Rieber’s work on the character is – while well-intentioned – clumsy, awkward, groan-inducing and cliché-ridden. Even the fantastic artwork of John Cassaday cannot salvage the run from its own tired and trite pseudo-philosophical ramblings.

Subtle.

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Right Here, Right Now: Thoughts on Kathryn Bigalow’s Osama Bin Ladin Project…

It’s interesting that the piece of news which grabbed me most coming out of the whole news cycle around the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin by US troops in Pakistan wasn’t any of the discussion over the legality of the act, nor the debate over whether assassination is now an acceptable tool of foreign policy. It was the near-instantaneous announcement that Kathryn Bigalow would be working on a feature film adaptation of the killing, an adaptation that reportedly has a mostly finished script and a lead actor already. Perhaps it’s a stunning illustration of just how quick the news and media cycle is, but I wonder how quick we feel the need to turn history into cinema.

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