Kathryn Bigelow writes an op ed in today's Los Angeles Times, calling herself a "pacifist" and, once again noting that "depiction is not endorsement."
She writes, "I do wonder if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and ordered these U.S. policies, as opposed to a motion picture that brings the story to the screen."
Some Capitol Hill lawmakers claim that the movie depicts torture as yielding valuable information that led to Osama bin Laden, but Bigelow says that "Zero Dark Thirty" puts the use of enhanced interrogation techniques into context. The movie also shows torture as leading to misinformation and dead ends.
"Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn't mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn't ignore. War, obviously, isn't pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences."
Variety's Jon Weisman reacts: "If Bigelow and Boal finessed some facts, or if they were duped, if you will, into making torture a larger factor than it was (because let's be clear – they believe in their movie), then that's to their discredit if it was done irresponsibly rather than for a greater good, cinematically or culturally. In that respect, it's no different than "Moneyball" getting some of its facts about the Oakland A's wrong for no good reason – and, despite the apparent preposterousness of the comparison, about as likely to have an impact on our society going forward.
"My conclusion, however, is that the strengths of "Zero" far outweigh its weaknesses, and that the level of controversy surrounding the film has been unfair."