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American Cinema in the Shadow of 9/11$
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Terence McSweeney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474413817

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413817.001.0001

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Responding to Realities or Telling the Same Old Story? Mixing Real-world and Mythic Resonances in The Kingdom (2007) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Responding to Realities or Telling the Same Old Story? Mixing Real-world and Mythic Resonances in The Kingdom (2007) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter 2 Responding to Realities or Telling the Same Old Story? Mixing Real-world and Mythic Resonances in The Kingdom (2007) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Source:
American Cinema in the Shadow of 9/11
Author(s):

Geoff King

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413817.003.0003

In Chapter Two "Responding to realities or telling the same old story? Mixing real-world and mythic resonances in The Kingdom (2007) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012)" Geoff King also explores the specificity of post-9/11 American film by situating his two case studies in a rich cultural and historical landscape. As he argued in his seminal Spectacular Visions: Hollywood in the Age of the Blockbuster (2000), King maintains than many American films can be read as simultaneously of their time and as a part of the American mythological tradition. While the Western genre is long gone as a cultural force, traces of its DNA remains embodied in many contemporary American films, and both The Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty demonstrate the efficacy of the cinematic medium to embody cultural understandings of the 'War on Terror' era at the same time as they evoke the tropes of the American frontier narrative, despite being set very firmly in the contemporary Middle East. Like American Sniper, Zero Dark Thirty proved to be one of the most culturally resonant films of the period, but King largely sidesteps the well-travelled debate about whether the film endorses torture or not in favour of a detailed reading of how Bigelow's affectual drama (and also Peter Berg's The Kingdom) imposes fictional or mythic-ideological frameworks onto their real-world narratives (see Westwell, McSweeney, Chaudhuri).

Keywords:   War film, Iraq War, Hollywood, Zero Dark Thirty

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