Zero Dark Thirty was developed and manipulated by the CIA, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Vice News.
While the government is no stranger to pushing narratives through cinema, the story of Zero Dark Thirty is particularly jarring because Osama bin Laden was, for years, a foundational tenet of the adventurist war on terror. The filmmakers could have depicted the government’s inability to find him for a decade (granted, this was Boal and Bigelow’s intention, though they still sought the CIA and Panetta as their source of information). They could have investigated and told a story about the murky circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s death. They could have explored the fervent war hysteria of the American populace, spurred by perpetual propaganda from the establishment pitting Osama bin Laden as a bogeyman warranting total imperialist intervention. Instead — with box office revenue over $130 million worldwide — they added to that fanaticism with the help of the government that created it.