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The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden Weighs In On The Inaccuracies Of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden Weighs In On The Inaccuracies Of 'Zero Dark Thirty'

If there is one movie everyone has had an opinion on this Oscar season, it’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” With folks like ex-CIA director Leon Panetta and filmmaker Michael Moore among the many, many, many pundits, politicians, observers and more weighing in about the film, its portrayal of torture and more, even the filmmakers have had to get in the fray, with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal forced to remind folks that this is a movie, not a documentary and that depiction is not endorsement. But here’s thing — so far no one who has praised or defended the film was on the ground, but now, one man who was in the midst of action, has seen the movie.

Esquire managed to track down the Navy SEAL who actually killed Osama Bin Laden in a rather fascinating, must read profile that reveals, among other things, that he’s living on a meager pension having quit the Navy before serving twenty years, and lives in constant fear of reprisal. But he’s also seen what filmmakers have done with the event that forever changed his life, and he’s got some minor bones to pick with what Bigelow and Boal have put up on the big screen.

“They Hollywooded it up some,” the man said, who Esquire refers to as simply The Shooter for obvious reasons. He adds: “It was fun to watch. There was just little stuff. The helos turned the wrong way [toward the target], and they talked way, way too much [during the assault itself]. If someone was waiting for you, they could track your movements that way.”

“When Osama went down, it was chaos, people screaming. No one called his name,” The Shooter says about the pivotal, climatic moment while he also mentions smaller points of contention such as the fact that the dog on the mission was a Belgian Malinoise, not a German shepherd, and that there was no talking on the helicopter on the way to the mission at all. But one thing they did get right? Maya. “They made her a tough woman, which she is,” he said.

All told, the complaints sound minor, but frankly what The Shooter has lived through and experienced allows him to nitpick the picture all he wants. But as Bigelow and Boal stressed, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a movie, and with that territory comes the knowledge that some events may be dramatized or heightened for effect. This won’t end the swirl of talk about the movie, but of all the opinions out there on the content of the movie, there are few with the kind of first hand knowledge The Shooter has.

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Ann Park

I think it was entirely justified. We need to quit giving money to Pakastan, they hid him for how long !!

Kevin Houser

"they've made sacrifices for our country" – Could you qualify that? The "country" part, I mean.


So now the actual shooter wades in, I wish he would do what I would have presumed to be his professional duty, namely keep a low profile and not wade into bullshit Hollywood dialogues, it's just tacky. Did we really need to know that the dog wasn't a freaking Belgian Malinoise or the helo's turned the wrong way? As for the debate raging below, maybe I shouldn't go there as I've just seen an interview with England's Prince Harry where he equates war fare with playing a video game. Sorry I just think we are so far past morality to even consider a moral debate around this anymore.

Bob Roberts

Look this movie says "Based on true events". Everyone knows that that gives the impression of truth. You don't have to sardonically repeat Boal/Bigelow's talking points that it's just a movie. We know that. But the movie gives the impression of truth with that first title-card. So please don't call us "folks" and demean us. We get it.

Bigelow is simply not a universal humanist. She's an American humanist. She thinks that Americans are good and brown people are some "other".

I'd recommend a Jonathan Demme movie to see what really humanism looks like.

Dan Mann

Glorifying a hit man?
This a Soldier in a WAR. He did his job and that was to take out the leader of a terriorist army who killed thousands of innocant people going to work.
He shot the man twice in the forehead and he felt zero pain, unlike those who jumped from 105 stories to their deaths.




Wow, glorifying a hitman. That's a new low.

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