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Hammerle on ... 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Robert Hammerle
February 13, 2013
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hammerle-temp.jpgDirector Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent saga about the quest to kill Osama bin Laden tells a larger story. Can we honor the dead of 9/11 by copying the moral depravity of their killers?

Rating: Can be seen on any screen. The movie may be 2½ hours long, but it took close to 10 years to pay back a debt.
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“Zero Dark Thirty” deserves all of its praise and criticisms. It is an accomplished, critical study largely seen through the eyes of Maya, played by the marvelous Jessica Chastain, a CIA operative destined to spend nearly a decade in Pakistan/Afghanistan. In the process, we watch as the world’s most powerful country repeatedly bungled its attempts to find its greatest enemy.

To begin with, Ms. Chastain dominates the screen in a role that will challenge Jennifer Lawrence in this year’s Oscar fight. She is flat out remarkable as a dedicated American operative who is hell bent on finding and killing Osama bin Laden. She literally lives and breathes to attain her sole goal, and it readily appears she has no other interests in life.

As I have previously noted in other articles, no other actress today other than Ms. Lawrence rivals Ms. Chastain’s enormous capabilities. Given the fact that she has two films playing, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Mama,” that dominated box office receipts recently, it is clear that her intellect, passion and beauty place her alone in Hollywood’s cinematic orbit.

However, the sad reality of “Zero Dark Thirty” is found in the opening half hour. Following 9/11, what we observe is the tragic reality of our country throwing away our moral compass. In the panic and anger that followed the destruction of the twin towers, the Bush administration willfully invited the use of torture into the 21st century, and in doing so you almost feel like the wretched bin Laden succeeded in the end.

To their credit, both Ms. Chastain and one of her co-stars, Jason Clarke, don’t run from the repeated use of torture, or as it was called by Vice President Cheney and his cohorts at the time, “enhanced interrogation techniques.”•

To read the complete review of “Zero Dark Thirty,” visit www.bigmouthbobs.com

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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