Film debate and aesthetic critique have now entered the abjectly surreal. Yet another piece of moralizing, this time from Andrew Sullivan, who hasn't yet seen the goddamn movie. (At least Sullivan, unlike Greenwald, repeatedly affirms that admitted lapse.)
What am I missing? Is it really so hard to postpone comment on a film until one has ... uh ... maybe, like, watched it?
I haven't any idea what Zero Dark Thirty's interpretive message is. I haven't seen it. Furthermore, I'd be immovably reluctant to take someone else's interpretation at any value, face or otherwise.
Case in relevant point. I thought the real brilliance of Saving Private Ryan was Spielberg's portrayal of the "wimpy," bookish, trilingual clerk who abhorred the impersonal brutality of war. In my view, the clerk was no coward; he simply found mass slaughter incomprehensible. When the war got personal, though--i.e., when the German soldier whom the clerk had earlier released then betrayed him--the "wimp" had no problem with retaliatory violence. Clerk, kaboom. German soldier, kaput.
Spielberg, or so I believed, was trying to get at war's intimacy through one man's experience and to suggest that perceived cowardice is often not cowardice at all--it's extreme intelligence. That, anyway, was my interpretation, and I recall having a heated debate with a former career military friend who protested mightily that Spielberg was indeed portraying cowardice in the field.
Who was right? Me or the military guy? I don't know. Steven won't return my calls, no matter how many flowers I send. The point, though, is that the determining point makes no difference: I have my interpretation, which I find artistically and psychologically and philosophically valid. And that, after all, is one high objective of good filmmaking--individual interpretations--which, had I depended on the military guy's interpretation, I wouldn't possess from Saving Private Ryan.