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Old February 25 2013, 07:33 PM   #398
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Re: Seth Macfarlane tapped to host this years Academy Awards!

sidious618 wrote: View Post
As far as the CIA fetish goes, while I would have preferred that they gave the Canadians the greater recognition they deserved (though they do get a large share of the praise in the film, as well), it's not like the CIA's involvement was made up out of whole cloth (they were equally responsible for the operation), and the storytelling reasons why they would play up that angle make sense. A story focusing on a spy going in to hostile territory is more dramatic (and true), and allows you to focus on a central character (Affleck's Tony Mendez) rather than the numerous people actually involved. It's not like they only omitted some of the Canadians involved; Mendez's longtime CIA exfiltration partner who went in with him and left with the group was also left out to streamline the story.
They did cut out some of the Canadians involved. A fellow called Shearman harbored half of the runaways while the ambassador had the other half.
I know they cut some of the Canadians involved, I said as much above. My point was that they didn't only exclude some of the Canadians, and that the reasoning behind it likely wasn't some malicious snub against Canadians but rather an attempt at streamlining the story and making it more cinematic. A couple of figures the audience can focus on symbolizing the actions of many. Putting them all together to interact instead of housing them separately. That happens all the time in "based on a true story" historical films, and I just don't understand why Argo is getting special criticism for it, since they made sure to acknowledge the major Canadian role extensively both during and after the film came out. As mentioned by Alidar, Affleck thanked the Canadians during his acceptance speech.

And it seems odd to comment on a CIA fetish while praising Zero Dark Thirty, a film which implies that CIA torture of terror suspects led to actionable intelligence that resulted in the killing of bin Laden, when there's no proof of that being the case (I know you won't argue the torture point Sid, but just FYI for anyone else; I don't want to get into a torture argument in the Oscar thread, so anyone who doesn't like my comment, I'll be happy to discuss it in TNZ or Miscellaneous if you like). Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic movie as well and I'd be fine with it winning, but it seems strange to criticize Argo's CIA focus while praising ZDT. At least in Argo it was a wholly nonviolent operation that resulted in rescuing everyone intended without any lives lost on either side, so it's worthy of praise in that respect. And there's plenty of criticism in the film of the CIA's and the US's prior involvement with propping up the Shah's brutal regime, so it's not like they skate away clean.
I saw Zero Dark Thirty as a decidedly anti-torture and anti-CIA film. Bigelow has been a vocal pacifist for a while so I'm not sure why people think the film is pro-torture. In the film they only get one piece of useable information from the torture and it turns out later on that they already had that information given to them right after 9/11 but were too lazy to look into it. There's a scene where a new intern gives the document to Maya, remarking that they'd had it since right after 9/11.
I didn't say the movie was "pro-torture" as in actively saying it was a good thing in the film (Maya is silent on it with her colleague but clearly repulsed by it - though she does later complain about the discontinuation of the detainee interrogation program - though that wasn't exclusively about torture, so it's a wash on what she's referring to), I said it gives the impression that torture led to actionable intelligence resulting in the death of bin Laden, which there is no proof of. The caveat that they already had the intelligence in hand if they hadn't been sloppy doesn't erase the first 45-minute fixation on torture or the fact that that was what set them on the path to finding bin Laden for years until the post-9/11 document was revealed later in the film.

I know Bigelow herself is opposed to torture, which is why I didn't criticize her in any way or let it take away from my appreciation of the film, which I think was a fantastic achievement and also Best Picture-worthy along with Argo. I don't begrudge your dislike of Argo, I just felt some of the criticisms were a little unfair, especially for doing things which are pretty standard practice in Hollywood films, including previous Best Picture nominees.
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