If you live in either New York or Los Angeles, there’s a good chance you’ve seen “Zero Dark Thirty” by now. The film was released in limited release on Dec. 19, which means that audience members have had a chance to start witnessing for themselves the torture scenes that have become a point of debate around the project. Many people have come forth to rebel against “Zero Dark Thirty’s” supposed implication that waterboarding a prisoner revealed the clue that helped Jessica Chastain‘s character find Osama bin Laden, and Sen. John McCain is one of them.
“You believe when watching this movie that waterboarding and torture leads to information that leads then to the elimination of bin Laden. That’s not the case,” McCain tells CNN’s “The Situation Room.” He says he’s standing up against the film because “movies, particularly by very highly credentialed producers, directors and cast, [do] have an effect on public opinion — not only in the United States but around the world.”
This is all part of a campaign that McCain, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Carl Levin are leveling against the film. The trio of politicians sent a letter to Sony asking the studio to clarify how the use of torture led to the capture of Osama bin Laden. At this point, Sony has not responded.
For their part, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have defended the inclusion of the waterboarding scene in the movie. They say that “Zero Dark Thirty” “shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.” For the record, the clue in question is not revealed during the torture scenes, but during a later conversation with the prisoner over lunch.