Zero Dark Thirty Analysis

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Presented as “the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man” (Mayer), Zero Dark Thirty is the dramatization of the search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Centering on the work of Maya Lambert, a Central Intelligence Agency officer, the film has raised controversy due to its historical inaccuracy in depicting torture. The film justifies torture by portraying that enhanced interrogation techniques provided key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In the film, Maya Lambert locates Osama bin Laden by following a lead from a tortured detainee. However, the information that led to the killing of the al-Qaeda leader was the result of tireless research and deductive …show more content…
officer, to a secret location for interrogation of Ammar, a detainee who they believe is associated with the hijackers in the attacks of the World Trade Center. The character Ammar is based on Ammar al-Baluchi, the real-life nephew of al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Dan threatens and tortures Ammar to extract information from the detainee. Dan’s men push the detainee around while Dan threatens to hurt him if he lies. When Ammar refuses to reveal any information, Dan tortures him by waterboarding; Dan’s men hold Ammar down while Dan pours water on his cloth-covered face. In reality, this scene was fabricated to thrill the audience. According to Mark Boal, the writer of Zero Dark Thirty, the real Ammar was never waterboarded, which is why he is a composite character (Kaminski). The filmmakers tried to make the film more realistic by basing Ammar on a real person and giving him the same name. As a result, this scene creates the conception that the real Ammar al-Baluchi was also waterboarded. Many people who discover that Ammar’s character is based on a real person will automatically believe in this …show more content…
Although Ammar eventually reveals information about a personal courier, Dan and Maya do not known if this information is reliable. Nonetheless, Maya strongly believes that the courier is the key to finding Osama bin Laden. The information obtained by other people working on the case is not as important to her. This portrays to the audience that Maya’s intuition is more reliable than the work of hundreds of military and intelligence

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