The death of the world’s most wanted terrorist is one of the biggest news stories of the year and will have reverberations beyond the current news cycle.
One of the perils about thinking and writing about films is that just as you are about to write something about the box office success of the Fast and the Furious franchise, a massive news story breaks to remind you of more important things.
So it was last night when the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was announced.
If you want to check out some detailed and illuminating analysis of the story, then check out the following links:
- The New York Times report on Osama bin Laden’s death
- A very detailed piece by Marc Armbinder for The National Journal on the team that killed bin Laden
- The Twitter account of Sohaib Athar who unwittingly reported the events going on in his town
- The Wikipedia page on the death of Osama bin Laden
- This soon-to-be iconic NYT photo of New York fire fighters in Times Square last night
- Jeremy Scahill’s piece for The Nation on the JSOC unit that killed bin Laden
- This Telegraph story about Wikileaks data which suggests the Pakistan government was shielding bin Laden
- The Big Picture’s photo gallery of world reaction to the story
A major news event like this eventually gets reflected on the big screen, but one story is that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal (the Oscar winning team behind The Hurt Locker) were actually working on a film project surrounding the hunt for bin Laden.
Given the raft of non-fiction films that have been made about the war on terror unleashed by the 9/11 attacks (the best among them The Falling Man and Taxi to the Darkside) perhaps some documentary filmmakers are already exploring how can make a film which incorporates the current news story.
Back in 2008 I spoke to director Morgan Spurlock about his film Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? and we discussed why bin Laden hadn’t been captured.
The received wisdom then was that he had eluded capture because he was in the rural, lawless border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Doesn’t it seem a little odd that the US had to stage a secret mission without the knowledge of their (supposed) ally in the War on Terror, to snatch the world’s most wanted man?
And what about the reports, based on leaked US government files made public by Wikileaks, which suggest that Pakistan’s security forces were shielding bin Laden?
Given the billions of dollars of aid the US gives to Pakistan every year, I imagine the consequences of bin Laden’s death will make for an interesting story, whether or not it ever becomes the subject for a film.
Just a quick thought to end on.
Whilst Obama was roasting Donald Trump on Saturday night at the White House Correspondent’s dinner (an event which included a bin Laden gag by SNL comedian Seth Meyers) he would have known all about the momentous operation which was about to take place.