Actual Bin Laden Shooter Points Out Zero Dark Thirty's 'Hollywooded' Elements

The nature of the way movies work is that they can't just replicate reality - things have to be made cinematic. It's the reason why characters don't break away from an important conversations for three minute on-screen bathroom breaks. Somethings have to be changed to make them more exciting and fit the format. And that even extends to scenes where Navy SEALs are infiltrating Osama bin Laden's compound.

Esquire has published a new feature about the nameless soldier who shot and killed the world's most wanted man, and within the article - which details the shooter's life since Bin Laden's death - the magazine chronicles his reaction to Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. Sitting in the theater the shooter's first reaction to the film was to laugh at the title card, "Based on firsthand accounts of actual events," and make a joke to his uncle, who asked him if he had already seen the movie. His response: "I saw the original."

His one major critique of the raid scene that he had was that the SEAL team was being too noisy. During the suspenseful third act sequence he even went as far as to shout ""Are you fucking kidding me? Shut up!" when a character screams out "Breacher" before an explosion. He also had problems with the tattoo scene, saying "Those guys had little skulls or something instead of having some real ink that goes up to [the shoulder blade]." As for his opinion of Maya, the character played by Jessica Chastain, the shooter said that she was "awesome" and acclaimed "They made her a tough woman, which she is."

He laughed with his mentor about some elements, like the high-tech "four-eye goggles" that the soldiers wore, but the conversation at the table got dark when it came to the subject of CIA operative Jennifer Matthews, played by Jennifer Ehle. Both the shooter and the mentor "knew at least one of the paramilitary contractors who perished with her" in the suicide bombing shown in the movie. Overall his opinion on the film was positive.

"It was fun to watch," the shooter said. "There was just little stuff. The helos turned the wrong way [toward the target], and they talked way, way too much [during the assault itself]. If someone was waiting for you, they could track your movements that way...They Hollywooded it up some."

Though it is a very long article, I highly recommend checking out the full article over at Esquire, which details all of the hardships that the hero has faced, including the fact that he has received "no pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.