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Normally we don't get too worked up over which person or group has stepped up to support a particular movie, especially a movie that's a hit with critics and audiences already. But from the moment Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal began making it, Zero Dark Thirty was not your usual movie. A detailed and lengthy recreation of the ten-year search for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty reveals all kinds of information that the general public previously didn't know, and steps right into the ongoing debate about torture by showing, practically in its first scene, a source being water boarded and abused right in front of our heroine Maya (Jessica Chastain).
A lot of very smart and plenty of very dumb things have been said about Zero Dark Thirty's torture already, to the point that Martin Sheen recently felt the need to apologize for signing a petition that asked the Academy not to award it. But now a group I pretty much never expected to hear from has stepped in. According to Deadline, the 9/11 Parents & Families Of Firefighters and WTC Victims has issued a statement supporting the film, saying "we find it deeply disturbing that some of our elected officials want to discourage other 9/11 families and the public from seeing this outstanding film."
You can read the full statement over there, which includes some oddities-- they misspell Bigelow's name and put "film critics" in scare quotes for some reason-- but also an inarguable statement at the end: "All citizens should see this film and make their own decisions about its value. This is what democracy is about." I know I'm not the only movie critic who goes crazy when a movie becomes such a big conversation piece that people start arguing about it without having seen it, and that happened in a big way with Zero Dark Thirty, which began attracting controversy well before most audiences had started to see it. The conversations around Zero Dark Thirty as a film has been interesting, but as a political football, it loses all its nuance and interest and becomes just another thing for people to scream about on CNN.
Sadly, this statement from the 9/11 victims families probably isn't going to help anything, since mentioning "9/11" is the surest way to make a political conversation even more insane and heated. But more power to them for sticking up for themselves, and forcing all these overheated pundits to recognize that, for some people, the death of Osama bin Laden was a whole lot more personal than for everyone else.