18 January 2013 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Billed as a Barack Obama election fillip, Kathryn Bigelow's tale of the hunt for Bin Laden quickly became political dynamite

When the Obama re-election machine began gearing up last winter, its presumed winning formula had the brevity of a high-concept Hollywood pitch: "General Motors is alive, Osama bin Laden is dead."

The mantra's first part received an unexpected iteration during half-time at the Super Bowl when, in an ad promoting the Us car industry, no less an icon than Clint Eastwood told the huge TV audience that Detroit had weathered the Great Recession and was coming back. (Apparently unaware he'd been cast as Obama's surrogate, the star would make amends by grotesquely lecturing the president during the Republican convention.) Meanwhile, the mantra's second part was also in the works, in the form of Kathryn Bigelow's big-budget thriller about Bin Laden's assassination; not yet named Zero Dark Thirty, the »

- J Hoberman

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