I succumbed last night to my wife’s request and watched the wretched movie, ZERO DARK THIRTY. Fortunately, I did not have to spend a cent to do so. We were visiting friends who had a copy and I agreed to watch. My original refusal to spend any money to watch this film was predicated on Kathryn Bigelow’s unseemly access to the CIA and DOD because the Obama White House was eager to get out a piece of Obama hagiography designed to sing his praises as the Jihad killer.

My fears were misplaced. The movie is very subtle in its efforts to perform political fellatio on the little man from Hawaii. What truly shocked me was how awful, banal and pedantic the flick is. Bigelow’s award winning effort, The Hurt Locker, may have inspired hope that she could work magic on a story of such magnitude as the search for and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Nope. She dropped a proverbial turd in the Hollwood Bowl.

I remember when Oscar was upon us and many on the right were insisting she did not get nominations or awards because of how she handled the issue of torture. That would have been a great excuse if the movie was worth a damn. But it ain’t.

The torture scenes in the first fifteen minutes are mind numbingly ridiculous. Mark Boaz, who wrote this nonsense, could have taken some lessons from Vince Flynn in how to write torture porn. Boaz scripted the most juvenile, comic book nonsense you could imagine. Frankly, if the CIA personnel portrayed as inflicting this “punishment” had actually acted this way, they should have been fired for incompetence.

Boaz and Bigelow then stitch together a garbage story “based” on real events. For example, their portrayal of the suicide bombing of Jennifer Matthews at Camp Champman in Afghanistan has no relevance to the search for or capture of Bin Laden, but is attached to the script like a perverse Christmas ornament. Matthews is portrayed by Jennifer Ehle (she was the heroine physician in CONTAGION). Some of Matthews’ former colleagues take exception to her portrayal:

Martin says he winced at the depiction of Matthews, calling it the film’s “most egregious” error. “That character, as portrayed in the movie, was not her,” he said. “She was much more serious, and that was a misrepresentation of just her personality and her demeanor and the way she operated.”

However, the movie does get it right in zinging Matthews for being quite unprofessional in the reception she put together for meeting with the fellow who turned out to be a deadly double agent. But so what? This was not a story about how the CIA placed EEO politics (which it does) over professional trade craft.

The unfolding of the yarn about how the CIA supposedly found Bin Laden is goddamn, boring mess. Contrived drama set against the backdrop of maddening bureaucracy.

You would think that the final assault on the Bin Laden compound would be a nail-biter and blood pressure raiser. Think again. Even my wife, who is far more forgiving of these kinds of movies, remarked without prompting afterwards that she was shocked this had even been considered for Best Picture. It was not.

If you have the chance to buy or rent this movie, DON’T. If you have already wasted your money, my condolences. This movie is a mess.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.