Yet another controversy surrounding Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty (2012)" has emerged. The film was recently accused of being pro-torture for showcasing coercive interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees. Responding to the issue, lead actress Jessica Chastain insisted that those scenes were not "propaganda" at all.
"I'm very excited that people are now seeing the film and they're realizing it's not a propaganda film and it doesn't have an agenda," Chastain said when attending a Los Angeles press junket for the film. "It just tries to show this moment in history as accurately as possible."
Screenwriter Mark Boal chimed in, "I understand that those scenes are graphic and unsparing and unsentimental." He went on, "But I think that what the film does over the course of two hours is show the complexity of the debate and the number of different ways that information came into the CIA."
Boal claimed that all the accusations about him and Bigelow being pro-torture were "mischaracterization." He added, "Including, in that specific scene, it shows that torture didn't stop that particular attack that the characters are worried about."
Bigelow herself explained, "All I can say is that, personally, as they both mentioned, they were difficult to shoot, those sequences." She said, "I wish it was not part of our history. But it was."
Previously, Frank Brunni of The New York Times criticized the early sequence of the Osama bin Laden hunt film, which featured an agent named Dan (portrayed Jason Clarke) using "enhanced interrogation methods" on a detainee. "The movie shows a detainee being strung up by his wrists, sexually humiliated, deprived of sleep, made to feel as if he's drowning and shoved into a box smaller than a coffin," so Brunni wrote.
The topic soon grabbed the headline as some people suggested that the film was a "pro-torture propaganda," and some other believed that it could win an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
Following the issue, it is reported that this week, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee plans to vote on whether to approve the yet-to-be-released findings of a 6,000-page report about the 3-year investigation into the secret CIA interrogation program as depicted in "Zero Dark Thirty".
The highly-praised political thriller will open in selected U.S. theaters on December 19, before expanding to nationwide release on January 11. Three days before the wide release, the film will throw a special screening in Washington D.C., which reportedly will be attended by politicians, members of the executive branch, opinion makers and Washington journalists.