Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Repressed Lust of the CIA Analyst in ZDT

[revised 11/24/2013]

I just saw ZDT, or Zero Dark Thirty, that controversial film by Kathryn Bigelow. I expected to hate it, but I actually loved it and I believe, modestly, that most people have misunderstood this movie but that I understand the director's vision.

This is not a movie about Osama Bin Laden, terrorism, torture, or any of that.

This is a movie about the repressed lust within obsessed CIA analysts.

This is a beltway bodice ripper 1 about Maya, the waif-like, strong yet vulnerable, intelligent yet feminine, CIA analyst who single handedly finds the bad guy and saves the world. Why don't you men just listen to me?, she seems to be saying. I am woman! I am strong! I wear a conservatively tailored suit!

But deep inside that slender, athletic, neurotic, nearly anorexic female form lurks a hot volcano of repressed sexual desire.

In the shadows of the secret hanger, surrounded by 30 or so alpha males any one of which could rip her apart like a fried chicken wing, Maya is turned loose by her long-suffering CIA bosses to tell these bearded, athletic, casually dressed, men what their secret mission is.  

Does our angry CIA analyst enjoy the intense attention that these men pay to her?   They *do* pay attention to her, in the hanger, in the desert and God only knows where else.

And Kathryn Bigelow knows only too well what men like our Seal Team 6 find attractive: sports, stealth helicopters in secret hangers, and intense 26 year old repressed redheads.

Completely deadpan, the total professional, she basks in their attention and explains where she believes Bin Laden is hiding.   The men are gruff, uncertain, hostile.   A mistake could land them in Pakistani prison for a very long time.

But her confidence wins them over.

Notice how much more relaxed she appears after spending a week or two "training" with her men in the desert.   There in the desert the M-to-F ratio is probably about 75 to 2 or 3.   If that.   She could have her pick of the litter.   

She looks more relaxed and happier, somehow.




-1.  The sequence of the briefing of the Seal Team by Maya is also a brilliant example of an explanatory scene, the highest form of filmmaking.  In explanation cinema, the characters just talk to each other and explain things, no actual action is necessary.   In this case, notice how the Special Forces guys make the context switch between thinking they are there for a mission in Libya to the much more interesting project of taking out UBL.   Their reaction is very amusing and is one of the reasons that I think that this movie has value.

0.  The day that this post went live my blog received the single largest number of views / hits of any other single day in its life.  Proving one more time that sex sells.

1. A bodice ripper is a type of romance novel. Wikipedia has a good introduction to the categories of the genre and how it has evolved.

2.  Has "Beltway bodice ripper" been used before?   Did I just make it up?   The Beltway, for those who don't know, is the term locals use for Washington DC.

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