|It's not about torture, it's about the people behind the procedures.|
Zero Dark Thirty begs for an analysis beyond my 525 words, so here are a few additional thoughts.
1.) I didn't get into the whole torture debate, primarily because I didn't have the space to delve into it. I do know that Boal and Bigelow aren't endorsing torture. They're showing you what they were told. Think of it another way: (Warning: About to launch into Chuck Klosterman mode) Suppose you're a journalist writing a story that detailed aspects of something reprehensible, like child pornography or drug smuggling. Does that mean you support those acts? No. As David Edelstein suggested, you hope it spurs debate and gets people thinking about an issue.
That's what they've done. Oh, and thanks to Bret Easton Ellis, we've been exposed to the whole "If Kathryn Bigelow wasn't hot, no one would care" logic. I'm so glad he brought that up, because I can't pass a newsstand or doctor's office lobby without seeing her face plastered on a magazine cover. She's just like a torture-endorsing Minka Kelly.
2.) I will now follow Jessica Chastain anywhere. Put your politics aside and pay attention to her performance. It's the movie's driving force.
3.) If this and Argo had been released at the same time, I don't think Affleck's crowd-pleaser would have had the momentum. It probably would have been chastised for not being serious enough, and then Affleck wouldn't have become 2012's creative genius. And then I couldn't have played this terrific hypothesis game.
4.) Good to see Mark Duplass here, though it was weird not seeing him in a hoodie a la The League.