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Torture in 'Zero Dark Thirty' Necessary to Tell America's Story, Says Screenwriter

"Zero Dark Thirty" is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The film has raised questions about movies based on real events. How close do you stay to the facts? How true do you stay to the facts? And there's the whole subject of torture and the role it did or did not play in finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. The movie's opening is intense, and screenwriter Mark Boal says it's one of the toughest things he's ever had to do.

You can follow Mark on Twitter at @markboal and his film at @ZeroDarkThirty.

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I just felt Madeleine Brand's interview was so professional and right on point asking the tough questions. I don't feel that Mark Boal wanted to address the actual question. He stated things like, the torture scene is very brutal and therefore not an endorsement of those acts. But if by the end of the movie it leads to a successful outcome (regardless of historical inaccuracy) the plot justifies its usage no matter how brutal it is. This is the opposite of showing the extreme brutality of torture to condemn it. It's actually glorifying it and its usefulness. It's a valid argument but he wasn't hearing it. If it's just entertainment then it doesn't really matter because he has no obligation to represent a particular moral code or set of values. It's just that the beginning of the movie starts with the "based on first had accounts" leading viewers to believe it's more than just entertainment, but an accurate depiction of historic events. If the movie didn't open with that phrase, would we even be having this discussion?

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