Over the last several weeks the steady drumbeat against Zero Dark Thirty has grown louder and louder. There’s been the discussion that Boal was a bully and Bigelow defered to him on the set and there is a Senate committee looking into how they got the information that made up the screenplay.
The conversation has basically been one sided.
Until last night. At the ceremony for the New York Film Critics Circle, Kathryn Bigelow accepted the best director award and made the following statement:
I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices; no author could ever write about them; and no filmmaker could ever delve into the knotty subjects of our time.
Mark Boal added:
There’s been a lot written about this movie; some of it has popped off the entertainment page to the news page. And from time to time, some of you might have wondered if we would have liked to comment on some of that coverage, and the answer is yes… I stand here tonight being extremely proud of the film we made… In case anyone is asking, we stand by the film. I think at the end of the day, we made a film that allows us to look back at the past in a way that gives us a more clear-sighted appraisal of the future.
It’s a movie. I’ve been saying from the beginning it’s a movie. That shouldn’t be too confusing,” he quipped. “It’s in cinemas, and if it’s not totally obvious, a CIA agent wasn’t really an Australian [Jason Clarke] that was on a lot of TV shows, and Jessica Chastain isn’t really a CIA agent; she’s a very talented actress. But I think most American audiences understand that.
They are both standing up for artistic freedom and making clear that the film is a probe of what our government did and how it is important for artists to be able to take history and interpret it. This issue is not going away, and I’m glad that we are still talking about what methods our country employed in the war on terrorism.
The film goes into wider release this weekend after winning a couple of more awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and the Vancouver Film Critics. It has also done extremely well at the box office. Last weekend it played in 60 theatres and grossed almost $3.5 million. This weekend it goes 2,400 screens.