Here are some of the compelling themes you can write about in your in-class writing exercise.
1. Torture. Zero Dark Thirty was controversial when it first came out because many viewers and reviewers thought that it showed that torture “worked.” Without making an argument, describe how you think torture was represented in the film.
2. 9/11 and the War on Terror. The film shows that the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 was an important motivator for those seeking to capture Osama Bin Laden. It was also what turned this search into a mission of vengeance, at any cost.
3. Feminism. Zero Dark Thirty is a film directed by a woman, with a woman as the central character. Yet it is an action film, not a genre known for its feminism.
4. Journalism. Many have touted the film for its journalistic realism and objectivity. But are there cracks in this veneer of realism (that is, is it just a veneer)?
5. Genre-mash up. Your textbook authors discussed Kathryn Bigelow as someone who drew upon multiple genre traditions when she directed The Hurt Locker (primarily the melodrama and action genres). Is this true of Zero Dark Thirty?
6. Artistic use of form. Like most auteurs, Bigelow makes brilliant use of the formal elements of film: acting, mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. Write about the element that you thought was especially significant in Zero Dark Thirty.