I think this thread was closed by mistake. I've reopened it. Aurelius, I apologize if it actually was meant to be closed. Though I don't see why it would be.
Not sure if it's already been posted but Sony has released the script online: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/academy/media/zerodarkthirty-screen play.pdf
Very interesting to see how Bigelow translated the whole thing onto the screen and also to note what she ended up cutting, emphasizing etc.
I love the rage that I apparently provoke in the usual suspects here.
Thankfully some here reply to the actual points I bring up, rather than use them as an excuse simply to attack. I aplogized in advance to making an observation on just what I saw in the trailer, but since one of my biggest beefs from the get-go has been how (and to whom) this film is marketed, can I at least be "allowed" to comment on how that comes across? Good guys/bad guys ... irrelevant really. On the surface, the gun-toting black burqa clad group come across as FRIGHTENING (especially with the music used, the sweaty close-up of the Al Qaeda operative), which plays right into preconceptions many in the targeted audience (the ads used for the NFL games) already feel. If you were to show that sequence the ad uses to a group of people who haven't seen the film (yeah, like me), and ask then for reactions, I'd wager the take away would be quite similar to mine. SCARY! Burqa, guns, black, bad ... is that a stretch? Talking about how the film is marketed here, not whether the Pakistanis are on our side or not in the film. Compare that depiction to how the Seals are portrayed in the ads ... down home, horseshoe throwin' REGULAR GUYS ... and (though she's not featured heavily - or much at all - in those ads aimed at the sport fan/video game playing audience) Maya - the protagonist, not 'hero' - as the strong, dedicated Woman in a Man's World. I'm just talking about visual depiction here, which to me looks to be about on par with how the majority of Iraqis (aside from the little boy) were depicted in THL. To me this is almost as troubling as the 'normalization of torture' that Zizek points out. Who knows, maybe the film says something completely different - speaking solely of the visual subtext here (though after suffering through THL, I kind of doubt it). Case in point ...
Didn't you mean, one of the many publications? Basically, you're so open-minded, and I'm so obviously close-minded.(Though I can't remember if The New Yorker is one of the publications Buster refuses to read?)
I don't know who you're referring to, Buster. I did not take any "opportunity to attack," and all through this thread I have been doing my best to thoughtfully contribute to this discussion. If I have failed to do so, please blame it on my intellectual limitations and not on any lack of intention to engage in good faith. And I honestly couldn't remember if The New Yorker is the magazine you refuse to read. I remember now that it was the New Republic, which got muddled in my mind alongside your similar opinions of The New York Times and left me trying to remember whether you hold the New Yorker in the same regard. Again, this was a failure of memory, and not an attempt on my part to insult you. I apologize for the mistake.
In any case, it was my guess that you would not enjoy ZD30, given your consistent hatred of movies that portray these sorts of events with, what's termed by critics, "gritty realism," in a manner that might make viewers think they are the "real events" (I am basing this off of the opinions you've expressed about United 93 and The Hurt Locker.) I could be wrong! Do you think I am? It is still my desire that you see this movie if you are going to continue debating it, just so that we have a shared touchstone upon which to debate. Is that unreasonable?
I agree that much of the advertising for this movie has been terrible (and also incredibly misleading!) Similar to how terrible the advertisements for Lincoln and The Thin Red Line were. The football-targeted ads are especially gung ho and terrible and misleading. So no argument! I guess I just don't follow you in holding that against the movie? I very much doubt Bigelow had anything at all to do with cutting those ads.
I am not sure exactly how closely the studio monitors the work the trailer houses do (obviously they only send them a few minutes worth of material to work with - they're not gonna send the whole movie!), but those companies cut the potential trailers/commercials. Then we have folks test them in various cities throughout the country. Then we get that info, categorize it, make it look pretty, write a report to the studio to explain why Version 20 of Zero Dark Thirty (for instance) works better than versions 10, 30, 40, & 50 for people ages 25-49 but version 40 works better for males 18-24, while version 10 works better for females.
Then it's up to the studios to decide what they wanna do. There's so much going on, I doubt many directors really follow it that close. They just trust the trailer houses, us, and their studio brass.
I have been having a hard time writing anything about this film since the whole discussion around this film is so intimidating? Quite scary, actually. I won't really chime in but I just can't for the life of me understand how someone can comment so much on a film without having seen it? Oh Bustah.
Anyways, politics aside, I thought this was masterful filmmaking, which makes Bigelow's snub even more unbearable. ZD30 is all Bigelow and makes no sense to recognize the film in another categories and leave its main force and drive out. Bigelow's work here is actually superior to her Oscar winning work so it's a shame she was snubbed this time around. I won't really comment on the whole debacle around the torture scenes since I just don't understand how that became such a major issue in the first place. I'll just say that I thought Bigelow and Boal were smart enough to make it as ambiguous as possible and not make a judgement or a case for either side, leaving viewers to decide the meaning and purpose of what they had just watched.
The whole cast was uniformly excellent, especially Mark Strong and Jennifer Ehle. As for Chastain, I'm so surprised (and delightfully happy) that Academy chose to recognize a performance like hers. I think it's quite a miracle that such a subdued, "unbaity", atypical performance could get to the Oscars, hence why I have so much trouble seeing her winning the Oscar. That last scene is one for the books and it was the one that really made the whole thing emotionally resonate with me.
All in all, probably the best american film of the year.
LOL with all due respect, V-Baby, I think that sort of neutrality is the one Zizek should be worried about, not the film’s neutrality. I’m certainly more worried at these “I won’t enter into the politics, I’ll choose to only see the entertainment angle of it, and as such, this is the best film of the year because it’s the one with the best pacing, editing, and acting”. I respectfully ask, how can you do that? It’s like “Oh, look, Jew Suss! (the infamous anti-Semitic propaganda film made in Germany in 1940, commissioned by Goebbles). I won’t enter into the politics, it’s a very good film, well acted, well paced, well edited, well written. Kudos to all involved”. Sometimes, not entering into the politics is being an accomplice of them. Defend the film’s politics or attack them, but damn, don’t sidestep that. It’s too serious an issue to side-step it. Are you against or pro torture in cases like this? Do you think the film supports it or not? We’re not zombies, we all live in this world in which torture happens with the acceptance of our governments and it’s vital that we all take a stance about it, pro or against it.
What’s infuriating me this season is how everybody has run to take a moral stance about The Impossible, because that’s an event from the past and from the distance (from a western point of view) and we can judge how it’s been handled from a super safe distance, but so many critics have instead analysed (and awarded) ZDT completely side-stepping its thorny content and focusing only in its effective editing, acting, pacing, etc. That is worrying and disgusting, because it’s a subject that’s much more delicate and harming than the 2004 tsunami, and Bigelow and Boal may have incurred in much more dangerous missteps than Bayona and co. But no, Bigelow has all the prestige, and we have to confirm her as such a major Hollywood auteur, and we have to re-affirm our 2009 praise for THL, and we’ll only focus on what a great director she is, and how she handles tension and mood and editing, and we’ll leave the thorny discussion for easier targets.
THAT is what Zizek should choose as a target, not the film.
Sorry to have used your post to voice this concern, VSW, I’m not blaming you in particular because one can have a moral position but not feel confident enough to articulate it, but I do think the generalised reaction, especially from professional critics who MUST engage in that discussion, is extremely worrying.
See, that's exactly why I didn't feel like posting about this film since I knew someone would pick on me. LOL It had to be you!!!! You could have at least used Tomo, Odi or Vince's posts since I'm sure they are way more articulate than me and will be able to respond to all of that in a much more effective way.
I still think and stand by Bigelow's statement that one should be able to separate art and reality and that the depiction of some sort of reality does not mean, by any means, any kind of endorsement. I think that's just absurd and that's why I really can't for the life of me understand Zizek's argument since it's flawed from the get-go considering he thinks: neutral depiction = endorsement. He even goes as far as saying one should not ever be able to depict any kind of rape scene with some kind of dettachment. And like Au, Irreversible's rape scene immediately came to my mind. That scene is presented in a way that lets the viewer project its own feelings on it. It has a gritty realism to it without making an actual, loud judgement about how rape is evil (it is, obviously). It just depicts the actual act, with nothing else to it, like some kind of blank canvas. It makes the scene way more powerful and disturbing and despite the neutralism, it actually turns out to be most effective way to show how disturbing and evil rape is. It allows the viewer to think about it, to make his own thoughts without being manipulated/ guided by the director or the writer.
I think the same exact thing happens in ZD30. It's not a pro-torture film. I am against torture in all kinds or means or for any purpose whatsoever. But I never for one second thought, while wacthing the film, that Bigelow and Boal were trying to make a pro-torture point. They are not. There isn't a single pro-torture element in the film. The film depicts torture as an ineffective method so one can not even argue they were trying to portay it as some type of "the goals justify the means/methods used at all costs"-situation. The torture scenes do have that neutral feeling about it. But not in such a way that you feel the filmmakers didn't have the guts to take a stand. No. Those scenes are depicted exactly like the abovementioned scene in Irreversible. It allows the viewer to somehow dettach himself from what's happening onscreen and understand his own feelings about the use of torture to gather information. It's neutral in a documentary way like, if that makes sense. But the rest of the film really does somehow take a stand against torture, not only showing the innefectiveness of it but also how such acts damaged or made an impact in the lives of the torturers. Maya's last scene is a reflect of that, I believe. It really does make you ask the question if all things that were done (torture and all) are always justifiable in the name of the war against terrorism. Maya's reaction is clear to me that Bigelow thinks they are not. And I truly agree with that.
EDIT - And the less said about The Impossible, the better.
Ha! So you ARE very articulate! Thanks for that, and sorry for using your post to voice my concerns (it's a thought I gave its final shape to yesterday, after having been thinking for some weeks about the odd lack of comments, especially in the first batch of reviews, to the thorniest issues of the film, so that's why I didn't ). I just think anybody should engage with the content of this film, lol, kind of a civil duty. I know many people do but don't write about it, like you, for fear of not being very articulate, but shake off the fear! It has to be done! (especially you, who have just been so articulate despite your fear!). So thanks for doing so and sorry again.
Žižek is a fellow countryman and it's childishly funny to read his name as Zizek because zize is a funny rural word for tits
The man who leaves and the man who comes back are not the same.
I think the comparison of Irreversible's rape scene (which Aurelius brought up) works in this ZD30 discussion, as long as you are discussing whether there is anything sacred enough to be neutral about or not to be used in art. But when we move beyond that, I don't see the parallels anymore. In Irreversible, before and after that scene, the whole plot (whatever that is), the whole narrative is totally different from ZD30. They are completely different movies in their goal and concept. I didn't feel that in ZD30 after the start of the movie. It is not pro-torture but it is not neutral enough either. To be that it doesn't have to had 'speeches' or overtly broad moral symbolism (as some people were arguing.) It is not black and white after all.