Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 2007. Discovery Channel, Jigsaw Productions, Tall Woods, Wider Film Projects, X-Ray Productions. Screenplay by Alex Gibney. Cinematography by Maryse Alberti, Greg Andracke. Produced by Alex Gibney, Eva Orner, Susannah Shipman. Music by Ivor Guest. Film Editing by Sloane Kevin.
One of the most riveting and horrifying documentaries of the century, this is a fantastic exposé of the scandal that erupted following the public release of evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison. The film uses as its focus an Afghani taxi driver who left his home village with passengers one morning and never came home. When his body was returned to his family, evidence showed that, while imprisoned as a suspected enemy terrorist, he had been injured to the point of death. This then spirals off into narratives about torture at Abu Graib, Guantanamo and Bagram Air base where prisoners are subjected to intense sleep deprivation, sexual abuse and waterboarding among other hideous techniques designed to break their spirit and have them admit to being members of terrorist groups (which they rarely are). The film then looks at American political history over the last few decades and the complex moral atmosphere that has led up to these atrocities, with director Alex Gibney taking an admirably unflinching and remorseless attitude towards the inclusion of devastating footage (sensitive viewers be warned) that makes no bones about the subject. The balance between human detail and political survey makes for a wholly satisfying and unforgettable experience.
Academy Award: Best Documentary Feature