UPDATE #4 Deadline Hollywood rules that David Clennon broke no Academy rules in speaking out (see below). Also, ZDT writer Mark Boal warns that he's finally mad enough about criticism that he's finally going to respond at length! This ought to be fun.... Transcript of Glenn Greenwald-Mark Bowden debate on the film.... Box office numbers show the film surprisingly won the first half of the weekend.
UPDATE #3 Saturday New collection of a couple dozen (negative) blurbs for Zero Dark Thirty--including one from yours truly--that you won't see in any ad.
UPDATE #2 And tonight a new controversy rages, as Academy voting member, actor David Clennon, announces he will not vote for Zero Dark Thirty in any category. This prompts response from Sony. I once had dinner with Clennon--among other roles, he played the evil boss Miles on thirtysomething-- in Hollywood years ago and found him to be, as described, a strong and intense liberal activist. “At the risk of being expelled for disclosing my intentions,” Clennon wrote, “I will not be voting for ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ — in any Academy Awards category.”
He also released this statement: "The Motion Picture Academy clearly warns its members not to disclose their votes for Academy Awards. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the film Zero Dark Thirty promotes the acceptance of the crime of torture, as a legitimate weapon in America’s so-called War on Terror. In that belief, following my conscience, I will not vote for Zero Dark Thirty in any category. I cannot vote for a film that makes heroes of Americans who commit the crime of torture.”
My post this week on Kathryn Bigelow still not getting it.
UPDATE #1 Mother Jones report on D.C. premiere last night, with Bigelow ducking out--after saying she is "awed" by the debate over the film -- and Boal getting very friendly questions from Martha Raddatz before being whisked away himself. Former Sen. Chris Dodd, now movie industry flack, asks, what's all the fuss about?
Earlier: Not surprisingly, some of the most effective assaults on Zero Dark Thirty's portrayal of the efficacy of torture have come from many writers who are true experts in this area. To date, Jane Mayer's attack in The New Yorker has perhaps been most convincing, and now we have the great Steve Coll in The New York Review of Books. His devastating portrait benefits from a balanced, understated tone, but also reminds us that it was the director and screenwriter who insisted, at the outset (but not so much since) that there work was based on true events and was meant to be journalistic. Coll (author of the award-winning Ghost Wars on Afghanistan and bin Laden) today:
As with discourse about climate change policy, the persistence of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other forms of argument about the value of officially sanctioned torture represents a victory for those who would justify such abuse. Zero Dark Thirty has performed no public service by enlarging the acceptability of that form of debate.Greg Mitchell writes daily for The Nation and has written over a dozen books on subjects including influential political campaigns, atomic cover-ups, WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, the death penatly in America, and more--see rail at right on this blog.