I would like to say that this is a well-structured, masterful screenplay, with great sequence structure, unity of action, characters, and a celebration of a defining moment in U.S. history, but I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it is all that. It also lasts 2h and 40min and does not let the ball drop. I don’t think a single frame is wasted. But what it amount to is an example of doing the wrong thing right.
You see, in life it is better to do the right thing wrong than to do the wrong thing right. The former you can fix; the latter will always be wrong, no matter how much expertise you bring to the table. If you read the article below, you’ll find more about why everyone working on cinema and TV should be aware of the reach of their work and the ethical and moral implications thereof.
Anybody who works in the media, specially in cinema and TV, should have a superhuman awareness of the impact that their work can have. The impact on society, on truth, on the low-information voter, the warmongers, the legislators, and even the well-informed citizen.
What the film portrays thematically is that torture is okay. Torture is what lead to Bin Laden and what is helping us ‘win’ this war. Of course not only this is completely false and all the facts have been well researched, but it leaves out a whole lot of untold stories. The Best Documentary Oscar-Winner for ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ (2007), Alex Gibney, has also openly criticized the filmmakers for the way torture is portrayed in this movie.
The clear line of action is there, the characters are there, the dramatic line, the intensity, the comedic relief at crucial points. It is 2h40min, I was very tired, and it kept me awake. Of course, this film had a huge leverage from this recent historical event, It’s called ‘Mental Real Estate’, which you can check here.
I would like to say that it is a great movie, but I can’t. It is, rather, a great example of great craftsmanship, of all involved, used for the wrong reasons. It is an example of how we cannot separate skill from the ethical and moral implications of our work, like the mythological pale criminal, who has the courage of the knife, but not the courage of the blood to see what he has done.