The Road to Guantánamo (2006, Michael Winterbottom)

Daaamn. A mean, helluva movie. I liked Winterbottom’s Code 46 then was on the fence after 9 Songs and 24hr Party People, but this one redeems him (for its intentions alone, but I thought it was well-made). And this is a movie with intentions… it has a definite and righteous goal.

image

Interesting how people call this (like Touching the Void before it) a documentary when it’s mostly re-enactments with voice-over. Three guys went to afghanistan, got caught up in the al-qaeda retreat by mistake, and got captured by the US forces. Or that’s what they say happened… whatever truly happened does not matter, because it’s what happens next, their imprisonment and torture, that really counts. Seems like the US forces can do whatever they want without repercussion, so I’m surprised they even let these guys loose to tell their stories, despite their innocence. Took ’em two years to do it, though. My favorite part is the Americans and Brits pointing at zoomed-in photographs and grainy videotapes, pointing at blurred heads in the crowd and saying to these guys “this is you, admit this is you at an osama bin laden rally”). It’s not them, and our guys have proof they were in Britain the entire year in question, but all the inquisitors want is a confession (of anything at all, however false)… and apparently all middle-eastern people look the same to them.

image

As an expose of the post-terror guantanamo system, it’s a horribly necessary film. Sad, mean and awful, but with a purpose, an anti-torture agenda. Winterbottom’s a minor hero for actually travelling to Afghanistan and Iran to shoot this. The story continues, since some of the film team was detained on the way home from winning prizes at the Berlin film festival and “asked if they intended to make any more political films” Scary.

image

Related posts