As he does every year, former President Barack Obama is sharing his year-end favorites list when to comes to books, music, and movies.
The list this year, in terms of movies, includes the Nicolas Cage-helmed dissection of grief, Pig, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, the Netflix drama about two longtime friends divided by outward appearances in Passing, Joel Cohen’s Shakespearian epic The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Ridley Scott’s historical epic in the age of knights, The Last Duel, among many others. Check out the post for yourself below.
One movie on the list that drew particular attention on Twitter Wednesday was the Paul Schrader-directed The Card Counter, for which many people criticized the former president.
That’s not to say it’s a bad film, either, far from it. Instead, the anti-military-industrial-complex themes of the film made people wonder whether it wasn’t at least a little bit of a contradiction for the former Commander in Chief to signal as one of his favorites.
The film heavily centers on the rippling effects of violence that unfolds in the lives of former military personnel who were involved with the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse and torture scandal in Iraq. The real-life incident occurred under the George W. Bush Administration.
Obama used his anti-wartime torture position as a talking point in his first presidential campaign.
Obama did sign an executive order banning many of the controversial torture techniques used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in general shortly after taking office. However, Politico pointed out that in 2014 he stopped short of exposing the finer details of the CIA enhanced interrogation technique program or holding those who perpetuated it accountable.
In addition, Obama reversed course on publicly releasing prison abuse photos showing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2006, CNN reported back in 2009.
People were somewhat understandably puzzled that a man who oversaw two different middle-eastern wars during his time as a world leader would choose a decidedly anti-war film as one of his top picks.
Many recalled the time Obama was frank about the country’s involvement with dubious interrogation methods in the past — much of which likely occurred before he took office — when he said during a White House press conference back in 2014, “We tortured some folks.”