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The Monitor Mentality, or A Means to an End Becomes an End in Itself: Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty"

18 December 2012 10:11 PM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

 "We don't know what we don't know."

"What the fuck does that mean?"

"It's a tautology." 

The protagonists of Zero Dark Thirty debate logic and theory. They are less spies and more espionage critics; they take copious notes, trade interrogation DVDs, and analyze their targets’ actions in terms of intention and authorship. Everything is founded on some kind of theoretical framework. Everything can be intellectualized.  “We don’t deal in certainty,” one CIA operative says, “we deal in probability.”   

What emerges is a portrait of modern warfare as an elaborate technocracy. Torture, surveillance, and enemy action are all treated as data, which is then used to calculate probabilities. These probabilities form the bases for future actions, which yield more data. The cycle goes on and on and on.

Kathryn Bigelow's new movie has a lot in common with another ambitious film released this year by a major American filmmaker »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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