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Zero Dark Thirty

Trading in one form of fanaticism for another

We’ve already talked about the film Zero Dark Thirty, but a few months ago we came across a critique of the DVD release in which the author discusses Maya, the hero of the film: “Her fanatical pursuit of Bin Laden helps to neutralise ordinary moral qualms… This awareness of the torturer’s hurt sensitivity as the (main) human cost of torture ensures that the film is not cheap rightwing propaganda: the psychological complexity is depicted so that liberals can enjoy the film without feeling guilty. This is why Zero Dark Thirty is much worse than 24, where at least Jack Bauer breaks down at the series finale. “

We find the idea of one form of fanaticism being replaced by another very interesting, and more so that the story can allow viewers to detach from a conflict that would normally affect them (Slavo Zizek, “Zero Dark Thirty: Hollywood’s Gift to American Power,” The Guardian, Friday, January 25, 2013).