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Zero Dark Thirty: Reifenstahl Redux? (A movie review.)

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posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 03:38 AM
I never go to movies anymore. I can't afford them. I live on the poverty line, earning about $17,000 a year in my part time job. I have no "benefits". I have no dental care and have the jack-o-lantern smile to prove it. I eat poorly and probably lack energy and drive as a result. I'm a financial basket case, but fortunately live in circumstances that shelter me from some of the consequences of my feckless choices in life.

The world of the movies is something I can't relate to. I loathe the entertainment industry almost as much as I loathe mainstream politics and mainstream media. I'm like a character out of Dostoyevsky, if you added a sense of humour to him.

Normally, I would never write a movie review. It is very difficult for me to communicate how much I loathe Hollywood. Reviewing movies, to me is the equivalent of sifting through fecal matter looking for undigested kernals of corn and when finding one, shouting "Eureka!!" and holding it aloft for everyone to see and exclaiming "Look! This one survived the process!".

If you want satirical commentary on the movies and on society in general as it relates to the movies, you have to go far outside the mainstream of the movie industry to people who really do reflect the essence of popular culture in our times, people like Veronika Moser. It is hard to top Me, Hard Treated as a summation of most of what Hollywood has given the world over the decades.

Betty Grable with her legs, Farrah Fawcett with her "flip", Marlene Dietrich in a tux. I could go on listing some of the iconic images associated with the great female stars of the movies, but I just want to make the point that this list is incomplete if it does not include the exquiste shape of the undraped Veronika, from the back, standing in front of an ice cream cone heaped with some potent looking "chocolate ice-cream".

The reason I went to see Zero Dark Thirty was that I wanted to know how "Hollywood" had treated the bin Laden episode. I realized that whatever position was taken in this movie would wind up being the position that the mass of mainstream America would take on the story. Having researched the bin Laden saga in the course of discussions of 9/11, I had a pretty good idea of the facts of the case, insofar as they are known to the alternative media.

I had a "professional interest" in this movie, one could say.

Katherine Bigelow is an excellent technical film-maker. She knows what to do to tell a story in a brisk cinematic way. She has a real gift for the unexpected explosion or the surprise fullisade of bullets. She got me more than a couple of times with these surprises. I also liked the music in the movie. It was quite beautiful. Compliments to the composer, whose name I don't know. There are also numerous scenes shot in the streets of India or Pakistan. Fascinating stuff to someone like myself, tied culturally to the east, being Buddhist.

This movie is a strange thing. One can view it two ways. It can be seen as a straight propaganda exercise, even as a defense of torture in the pursuit of punitive excellence. There is a very long series of scenes at the beginning of the movie involving the torture of some hapless prisoner. Alternatively, the movie could be seen as an attempt to undermine the official narrative of the war on terror by exposing the public to a "watered down" but still significantly disturbing picture of just what is involved in the "war on terror", that being "American terror", itself.

A neocon might think that the torture scenes were a little excessive, since they seemed to go on for perhaps 20% of the movie, at the beginning. It's fine to defend torture as an investigative tool, wrongheaded as that might be, but to rub the audience's face in it, as this movie does is entirely too responsible, from the neocon point of view.

Even Himmler was aware of the dangers posed to German soldiers from indulging in too much brutality. I'm sure Bush loyalists would have the same delicacy in such matters as exhibited by Himmler himself, and would feel that referencing torture is fine, lauding it's efficacy (a highly disputed notion by the way) is excellent, but wallowing in it is, as the French would say, "de trop".

From the point of view of a former Bush supporter like myself, however, who believes that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others should be doing time for their crimes, the torture scenes are far too short and so sparse compared to what actually happened. There is no Lynndie England, no pyramids of naked prisoners, none of the florid sadistic fun that actually happened.

Serious, responsible sadism is portrayed in this movie and one might say that Bigelow's choice here was the correct one, after all, she is telling a particular story that requires a narrowing of focus. Going far afield on a world's tour of American terrorism, with its various theme parks, like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, it's Lear jet renditions of the innocent and the guilty to foreign destinations, "black sites", where they could be tortured, away from the heavily lidded eyes of the slumbering American media, would make the story unmanageable.

Fortunately, though, in the course of the story, Barack Obama became President and the winds of "political change" forced an end to the torture regime, we are told.

The movie makes the point very quickly in a couple of throw away lines of dialogue that "political change" has dictated that sadism as an investigative tool would have to be set aside. Not moral awakening. Not the intelligence of seasoned investigators who know that torture elicits lies. No. "Political change" necessitates the setting aside of torture. "Political change". And we all know how permanent political change is.

Bigelow sets the mirror up to nature in this movie. Yes it is a very tiny mirror that doesn't give a panoramic view, but if a mirror is true and clean, even a small slice of the reality it reflects will contain enough truth for the discerning to make accurate judgements about it.

There is a lot of earnest vehemence in the movie. The red headed cutie that eventually pinpoints the house destined to be shot up by Seal Team Six, wants so earnestly and sincerely to get bin Laden. One of her bosses has a great table thumping scene where he gets very angry at the lack of progress being made in tracking down the "al Quaeda leader".

Truthers could only wish and hope that some of that sincerity and anger might actually be directed at the real perpetrators of 9/11.

On a technical level, this movie is made with a lot of competence and a lot of taste. Kudos to Bigelow on that score anyway. The bombing in the restaurant is masterful. I'll never relax again.

In a truly wonderfully inclusive way, that really only Americans do with their great big "aw shucks" hearts, there are a couple of short scenes included in the movie for the not insignificant number of people worldwide who might enjoy seeing an American bloodbath where actual American blood was splashing playfully around in the tub.

I'm speaking of the attempt by a couple of jihadi types to penetrate the ballistic glass virginity of the red headed cutie with their Kalashnikovs. Sadly this comes to naught, but there is one brief shining moment in the movie where jihadis, guns blazing, shoot up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

Didn't'cha ever cheer for the Indians in one of those cavalry massacres in a "western"?

That's part of the ambivalence of this movie. I started to think of it as an "eastern" and I started to cheer for the "Pakis". Was that the auteur's intention? No wonder James Cameron divorced her. She's way too subtle.

This goes for the actual assassination of bin Laden as well. We never get a good look at the guy. Just as in real life, we never got a look at the corpse. However, for the benefit of the audience, bin Laden's corpse was absolutely identified by the red haired cutie. She said it was him. The movie makes it clear that the raid on the compound was conducted largely at her insistance and at her conviction that bin Laden was there, even though everyone else only gave it a 60% or lower probability.

That's where the movie ends. On that basis, the movie is clearly a propaganda exercise.

We aren't told that "bin Laden' was buried at sea, without being shown to the world, begging the question "Was he really in the compound?" or was the red haired cutie just covering her butt by identifying some unlucky dude as bin Laden?

We aren't told of the subsequent deaths, en masse, of Seal Team Six. Dead men tell no tales.

Basically, you have to know the story well to see this movie for what it is, propaganda drivel.

Katherine Bigelow is a top notch resident of the Hollywood whorehouse, but she doesn't have the moral integrity of Veronika Moser.

edit on 5-2-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-2-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 04:08 AM
reply to post by ipsedixit

I have not seen this movie.
I have not even read your post!
I do not care to go see a "true" story, when the movie is most probably the farthest thing from the truth.
Therefore, this movie MUST be a propagandist lie to form our fragile minds.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 04:57 AM
reply to post by ipsedixit

That was a really well written movie analysis and enjoyed reading it although I too avoid going to the cinema to watch overpriced movies opting instead to browse for DVD's to buy online, searching for hidden gems outside of the Hollywood ego.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 06:24 AM
Regardless of what one thinks of the Death of Bin Laden this is actually a good movie I thought.

I have always been interested in terrorism and have been following it since before 9/11, I can honestly say that this movie broadly fitted in with the historical narrative, yes there was lots of Hollywood flare added to the movie and what not but on the whole it was a reasonably accurate portrayal of events.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 06:55 AM
You are all being conditioned.

Conditioned to accept Australian actors in stead of American actors.

How many did you count in this

funny thing is, I was really digging the movie till I realise the Aussies in it toward the end. O.o Every time it does that, a movie with Aussies, and they put on an American drawl.. I cringe...

Still, good movie I thought, much better than I had expected.

Of chouarse some will go "Nah nah nah not listening, it's all fake, nah nahh nahh" and refuse to accept any reality other than the one in their minds, but so... it's a movie.

There are no terrorists. It's just people who want you to think there are terrorists. Yes. They allllll sing hippy songs and throw flowers in the middle east, and if they don't well boy howdy it's because we're over there making pizza out of them... You betchya!

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 09:32 PM
I guess people are not really interested much in the movie. I should do a Veronika Moser thread.

She's a very unusual person. I'm no expert but I'm told that most women, as they get older, notice that their sexual satisfaction increases incrementally with age.

In Veronika's case, it increased excrementally.

Sorry. I thought it would be nice to end a thread, in which nobody is interested, with a joke. (Sigh.)

Currently I'm reading Freud's Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. The above would fit right in with the sort of jokes that Freud analyses in the book. Freud is amazing. What a penetrating intellect!

I'm sure he would love to talk to Veronika Moser. I don't think she would be considered a classic coprophile since she only developed her sexual peculiarity later in life and not as a child. Anyone who has seen any of her movies would surely conclude that they were witnessing the after effects of, and damage caused by, some potty training catastrophe in her youth, but no.

There is a whole genre of so-called "scat" porn and Veronika is a superstar of the genre. There are other well known performers in this genre and of course large numbers of unknowns performing also.

Porn fascinates me. I'm sure it fascinated Freud as well. All things sexual are fascinating to a Freudian and probably to non-Freudian psychiatrists as well. Sex is so fundamental to who we are as sentient beings. Our (Canada's) Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, back in the 1970s, said "The State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation."

I happen to agree with that.

Criminal law is sufficient to cover human interpersonal relationships. We don't need sexual law in my opinion, with the exception of cases of sexual predation on minors.

"Scat" porn is considered "a fetish too far" by the well known sex columnist Dan Savage, whose witty and often hilarious responses to correspondents on the subject of sex, I read religiously. He's great, but a lot of people disagree with him about "scat", at least based on the number of videos available in the genre.

Of course, if you go on the internet there is a veritable tsunami of porn. The internet makes it perfectly obvious, as if we didn't know, via Freud and via our own selves, that sex fascinates virtually everyone.

Veronika actually had to work hard, training herself to become a coprophile. Prior to that she had just done ordinary porn. I think it took her two years to learn to, uh . . . "recycle food". She really is a poster girl for the recycling movement as well as a star in genre porn films. She is very much "of our time."

One could say that Veronika and Amerika have a lot in common. They have both had to train themselves to consume a heck of a lot of ####.

Here is a link to a conversation with her, in which she explains how she did it. I like her and I like America too. I mean it sincerely. They are both amazing "performers".
edit on 5-2-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-2-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 06:45 AM
This thread is really going nowhere. I just want to add a couple of disclaimers.

1. In my discussion of the movie, Zero Dark Thirty, I may have left the impression that I was glad the Khobar Towers got shot up and that people were killed. No. I am against violence of that sort. I don't want anybody shot up or anybody killed, not even Dick Cheney. Jail time would be fine for his crimes. In the movie, after watching the Americans torture a prisoner for so long, I started to cheer for the terrorists, in the movie.

In real life, I like people to get along peacefully.

2. Hollywood is a "whorehouse" figuratively, in my opinion. Figuratively, the people who work there are whores. Figuratively, Katherine Bigelow is a whore for defending the lie that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11. I am not saying that she is an actual whore. Neither am I saying that Veronika Moser is a whore. These women are both artists. I just think that Moser has more moral integrity than a "figurative" whore like Bigelow, who helps war criminals perpetuate their lies.

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 07:28 AM
I enjoyed this movie by taking it for what it is - just a film.

I know the whole OBL thing is fishy and that he probably died a long time ago in a cave somewhere in the tribal regions, but it was still a well constructed and enjoyable movie. Even if it is all propaganda.

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 07:34 AM
The stealth helicoputers at area 51 were pretty cool. Mothballed, slower than a Bkackhawk....etc.

The movie is what it is. It is a movie with fact, shades of truth and fiction thrown in to a mixing bowl. It is for entertainment value only. Some scenes people won't like (torture) and some scenes and character interactions are very good.

I wouldn't read anymore into this movie. There's no hidden agenda.

Act of Valor was a good movie too.

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 08:45 AM
Sozen94 and wdkirk are right, of course. Hollywood is the "entertainment" industry first and foremost, but I think it is valid to seek the hidden messages in the "entertainment".

The introduction of the old motion picture industry "production code" is a fascinating topic. I'm no film scholar but I get the sense that the American film industry was much more vibrant and diverse prior to the introduction of the code, particularly in sexual matters. That is not saying that good films were not made after the introduction of the code, but simply that imposing governmental oversight on the industry, however innocuous, had a profound impact on it.

A lot of the sort of "fluff" actioners that Hollywood turns out do perpetuate and sustain some of the myths that Americans have about themselves. That is not a trivial matter.

I think that Zero Dark Thirty does it's bit to keep Americans in the dark on bin Laden and 9/11 and is therefore a noxious piece of "entertainment".

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