In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_walk_among_the_tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Fans of the hardboiled detective, rejoice. Screenwriter-director Scott Frank and actor Liam Neeson, adapting the splendid work of crime novelist Lawrence Block, have brought a…

Thumb_zero_theorem_ver4

The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam's first science fiction film since "12 Monkeys" is an inventively designed but oddly inert satire on technology, God and the future of humankind.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Torture, '24' and 'Dirty Harry'

dh.jpg

When the issue of torture comes up, many people think of the way it's portrayed on the screen (especially in '24'), as an effective tool for extracting vital information in a ticking-clock scenario. Hey, it works for Jack Bauer, and he's saved the country, and the world, several times over, right?

In real life, however, torture has proved to be a lousy way of getting anything meaningful out of, uh, "suspects." (And then there's that whole Geneva Convention thing...) To quote Professor Darius Rejali ("Torture and Democracy") in Salon.com:

Aside from its devastating effects and the wasted time and resources, does torture actually work? Organizations can certainly use torture to intimidate prisoners and to produce confessions (many of which turn out to be false). But the real question is whether organizations can apply torture scientifically and professionally to produce true information. Does this method yield better results than others at an army's disposal? The history of torture demonstrates that it does not -- whether it is stealthy or not.

Another perspective from a reader's e-mail to Andrew Sullivan:

When Americans think of torture they think of Dirty Harry standing over a serial killer whose next victim is running out of air at a remote location. Americans think of Harry as a hero for doing everything he can to save the victim. But what most people fail to realize is the thing that makes Harry the hero is not the act of torture. It is the choice to torture given he will face consequences for his action. If the consequences are removed then Harry becomes a meter maid.

Once the torture bill passes it won't take long before many, many more terror suspects will be tortured. A time will inevitably come when a detainee is found to contain some information that could have stopped a loss of life or property. At that time interrogators will have to account for not getting the information. Torture will become a cover-your-ass technique.

This is a sad time for morality and accountability.

And for the reputation of Senator John McCain, who has once again expediently sold out his alleged principles to satisfy his political ambitions.

Popular Blog Posts

Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all

As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part Ten: "The Village"

Part ten in Scout Tafoya's The Unloved series tackles "The Village."

Scorsese Receives Golden Thumb at TIFF Ebert Tribute

A photo gallery offering snapshots from The Ebert Dinner at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus