December 11th, 2012
04:59 PM ET
"The Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have crafted one of the most acclaimed movies of the year with "Zero Dark Thirty," and along the way they've spurred a healthy debate.
The film stars Jessica Chastain as a C.I.A. agent involved in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but the portrayal of "enhanced interrogation," including waterboarding and other methods, has raised the question of whether "Zero Dark Thirty" is supporting such tactics.
The New York Times' Frank Bruni mused in a recent column that the film appears to suggest that such interrogation methods were "vital to the pursuit of the world's most wanted man." Although, he noted, the movie might also "function as a Rorschach test, [with] different viewers seeing in it what they want to see."
CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen has said that he believes the film "distorts the story" of the search in a way that could give moviegoers the "misleading picture that coercive interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees - such as waterboarding, physical abuse and sleep deprivation - were essential to finding bin Laden."
The debate is only going to grow from here, considering that the movie won't open wide until January, but screenwriter Mark Boal isn't too concerned.
“It doesn’t really concern me because that is a part of the story here," Boal told CNN at the "Zero Dark Thirty" premiere in Hollywood Monday. "People will debate it, of course, but there is a lot more to the movie than that, and we try to show all the different things that the CIA did. But that is a part of the story too."
Chastain concurred, telling CNN that she feels "very proud of the accuracy," while her co-star Kyle Chandler believes viewers should wait until they see it for themselves.
“When you watch the film you will gauge it for what you want," Chandler said. "I mean, it's a film a portrayal of what Kathryn’s view [is] of what happened. As far as leaving the viewers with questions and not shying away from anything, I think the first 90 seconds of the film and the last 90 seconds of the film, and everything in between, I felt everything was earned. It’s honestly earned. I mean you can pick apart anything you want ... [B]ut I think this [is] pretty damn good at what it does!”
"Zero Dark Thirty" opens in limited release on December 19.
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