How many films about the search for and
National Geographic Channel's docudrama "Seal Team Six" was first out of the
So even though there is danger of overload, the timing is just right for "Manhunt," which premieres Wednesday on HBO. Greg Barker's straight-up documentary is about the real women and men who painstakingly gathered the intelligence that finally led to Bin Laden's death. As the opening text states plainly, the raid on the compound in
Based on the book by Peter Bergen, "Manhunt" opens by addressing some of the questions "Zero Dark Thirty" — and, to a certain extent, Showtime's
Re-creating their use of whiteboards, link charts and pattern analysis, these women describe how in the early '90s they began tracking a new kind of terrorist organization. Their growing insistence that this group and its leader posed a real threat to the U.S. was initially dismissed by their superiors; Storer was once told, in a performance review, that she was focusing too much on Bin Laden.
Bin Laden soon confirmed their suspicions by declaring war on the United States, first through an Arab newspaper and then, in 1997, to Bergen on CNN. That too was ignored, as were subsequent
Barker did not interview anyone on the receiving end of these increasingly insistent memos so the reasons given are oddly vague — there was not enough concrete detail, so no action was taken. Discussions of torture are likewise kept oblique. Marty Miller, who oversaw the CIA's search for Bin Laden, and CIA case officer Jose Rodriguez simply argue that they did what they had to do.
Bogged down at times by moody re-creations (often unforgivably accompanied by the strains of a muted trumpet) and endless footage of Bin Laden, "Manhunt" is not a definitive telling either. Indeed, its strength lies in its awareness that there is no way to completely tell this particular story.
But it does provide something of an antidote to the breathless churn favored by screenwriters. Early on, Sude describes how, on
That is one sort of heroism. Another is the sheer doggedness of determined professionals slogging, for years, toward a breakthrough that could, as in the case of Khost, be a deadly mistake. And then sorting through the ashes to begin again.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14)