Small Wars Journal

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and the New Reality of Reported Filmmaking

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and the New Reality of Reported Filmmaking by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post.

...  “Zero Dark Thirty,” which opens in limited release next week, hasn’t even hit theaters and already it’s touched a nerve, largely because it occupies such a strange new space in the cultural sphere. In many ways the film, about the 10-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hews to the classical lines of a tense procedural, as a CIA analyst, played by Jessica Chastain, systematically puts together a string of leads that finally convince her the al-Qaeda leader is living in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

But “Zero Dark Thirty” wasn’t created in the conventional way, whereby filmmakers option a series of articles or a book about the event and then dramatize it for the screen. Instead Boal, a former embedded journalist who wrote the Iraq war movie “In the Valley of Elah” and won an Oscar for Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” did his own reporting for “Zero Dark Thirty,” interviewing military and intelligence officials and operatives with intimate knowledge of the operations that resulted in bin Laden’s death in May 2011...