Kathryn Bigelow’s thriller about the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden, has received acclaim and condemnation in almost equal measures since its first public screenings in December. Her film Zero Dark Thirty is criticised for endorsing torture as an effective intelligence-gathering tool. The use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), more commonly dubbed as torture tactics portrayed in the film were protested against by human rights activists amongst others. However former CIA officials who were involved in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, defend the use of EIT as instrumental in the war on terror.
One such technique that is shown in the film is waterboarding, in which the detainee has water poured on his cloth-covered face. In reality this method can only be conducted within the confines of the Geneva Convention, and in the presence of a physician.
So far, Bigelow has said little about the accusations. She claimed artistic license with the film, and said more than once that “depiction is not endorsement.” She says, “If it was so, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time.”