Tag Archives: deontology

Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow- 2012) – The Dilemma of Morality

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Then exhausted and unexpectedly silent Maya (Jessica Chastain), without any sign of glory in her face, looks around in an empty military airplane only to realize that she will be as alone as she always was. The fateful operation finished and her obsessional desire for revenge fulfilled; Bin Laden killed. Somebody asks her, as he echoes her inner voice, where she wants to go now. And not knowing what life might mean from now on, she melts down on a chair.

In a furious review in “The guardian”, Zizek insists that Bigelow’s cool depiction is nothing less than endorsement and blames her for justifying the barbarity of torture by its blessing achievement i.e. demolition of al-Quaeda. However he ignores Biglow’s journalistic tone and the way she creates the final turn to leave us with the everlasting question of morality in the confronting context of modern life; what is the cornerstone of moral act? What’s right and what’s not? And the more important question of “should we judge the conduct itself (the deontological point of view) or the consequence of it (so-called consequentialism)”. The second would approve violent interrogation as it ended up to kill Bin Laden which is right (or is it?) whereas the former would argue that the inhuman act of torture is wrong no matter what, and that it’s like an opening towards an endless slippery slope. So although – as Thomas Caldwell mentioned in his clever analytical note on film – by the end of the day, the eventual vital piece of information was the result of brutal cross-examinations but In fact, in the film, overestimation of the attained information through the “classic” way of interrogation, diverts CIA to an astray for more than ten years. Bigelow, I believe, as a loyal reporter had less to do with the real chain of events and so she has reflected her feelings through her representation and the way she’s depicted the story. The final chapter of the film, in this way, has a pivotal role in decrypting the film.

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