'Zero Dark Thirty' writer Mark Boal says U.S. torture was 'dead wrong'
That’s a new term coined by Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal, who gave a speech this week about the criticism the Osama bin Laden takedown drama has endured from both sides of the political divide in America.
Conservatives complained long before the film was seen by anyone that it was a propaganda designed to highlight the anti-terror accomplishments of President Barack Obama, while some liberals were rankled by what they perceived to be an endorsement of torture interrogations (erroneously, as Michael Moore points out in this essay debunking those accusations.)
Director Kathryn Bigelow has already said numerous times that “depiction is not endorsement,” and now Boal — who is nominated in the Original Screenplay category at the Oscars, and won for penning 2009’s The Hurt Locker — is speaking out about why he wanted Zero Dark Thirty to strike a nerve as a film, rather than as a piece of traditional reporting.
An excerpt from his remarks as keynote speaker at this year’s First Amendment Week at Loyola Marymount University:
He defended the film’s fusion of drama and journalism, saying:
As for the film’s depiction of torture, Boal made his feelings clear:
The film has earned about $78.6 million at the box office so far. It’s up for five Oscars on Feb. 24, including Best Picture (a nomination Boal shares with Bigelow) and Best Actress for Jessica Chastain.