Monday, March 04, 2013

The Antidote to Zero Dark Thirty

I haven't seen Zero Dark Thirty but I certainly have heard the buzz about the allegedly awful torture scene (Torture works!  I saw it in the movie!).  It seems to me the foil might be the scene in Homeland where Saul takes the suspect on a 30 (odd) hour auto trip and slowly, slowly, slowly softens her up.  Recall my friend Scott's insight that if you sit up listening to anybody until three o'clock in the morning, you hear a lot of  boring stuff but once in a while you hear something really amazing.

I'm very much of the anti-torture party but I think it's only fair to acknowledge one limitation of the more sophisticated Saul technique: it takes training, and skill.  I haven't any doubt that there are people who know how to do it--and not just in Netflix--but I bet the demand exceeds the supply.

A couple of loose footnotes about Homeland: one, in two different scenes (so far) we see our hero and a lady (different ladies) drunk and giggly.  Well, not seriously drunk; let's just say spifflicated. Still, they're about the most convincing drunk scenes I've ever seen.  Related: Claire Danes does a marvelous job of convincing you that she is a pill junky, just one pop away from ionospheric orbit.  In both cases, I'm  sure you have to credit the actors but I bet the director had something to do with it.  Come to think of it, the only* other time I remember seeing her was in Romeo and Juliet, where I thought I thought she looked the part but didn't quite know that she was supposed to do with it.  Somebody must deserve the credit for bringing her out.
*I need to get out more.  Noted.


Ken Houghton said...

I've heard great things about her in My So-Called Life--since one of my former coworkers used to baby-sit her, I've been hearing about her for a long time--but for my money she broke through in the film version of Neil Gaiman's Stardust (in which she plays the title character).

Then again, I don't watch prison movies, so maybe it happened earlier and she just suffered Cameron's Disease with T3.

The New York Crank said...

I know that those who secretly feel torture is appropriate because at some level they want revenge against these prisoners will hate this, but one of the most effective instruments of interrogation often turns out to be....would you believe cookies? Well, sugar free cookies. But what it all boils down to establishing some rapport with the prisoner. And that's something you'll never achieve by forcing them on their backs and suffocating them.

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