Alex Pasternack zeroes in on the hardcore music blaring in the film’s torture scenes and what it says about Bigelow’s agenda. From the lyrics to “Pavlov’s Dogs” by Rorschach:

“What have I done / Unconscious to the act / Not realizing until after the fact / Everything evil becomes serene” …

Scoring your torture scene with a song about behaviorial conditioning by a band named after the father of projective psychology (you can listen here) speaks volumes about the filmmakers’ attention to detail, and their interest in making a point without making it directly. But unless you know the song (I hadn’t ever heard it–Motherboard video editor Chris O’Coin tipped me off), its message of unconcious evil gets buried inside the scene.

He sides with Glenn Kenny and defends Bigelow’s cold, unflinching presentation of the horrifying policy:

The “problem” with Zero Dark Thirty’s portrayal of torture isn’t the portrayal itself, but what it represents. Even though waterboarding is now prohibited, that hasn’t diminished its value for some in government. To assume torture is a thing of the past—or to criticize Zero Dark Thirty for not “banishing” it from serious public discourse—seems to be counterproductive to stopping it, if that’s even what we want to do.

The entire Dish thread on the film here. I’d be very interested in readers’ responses to the movie now that it is widely available. If I get better with this bronchitis, I hope to be on a panel at Georgetown University next Wednesday to discuss the film. Precise details later.