Saturday, October 4, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side - DVD Review

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (***) - Directed by Alex Gibney.

This won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary. It's another example of a movie where its technique is standard (talking-head interviews mixed with photos of the events and ominous music), but it's paced in an ideal way for the filmmakers to get their point across.

This movie focusses on one man, a taxi driver picked up in Afghanistan, held and tortured for months and eventually killed, but innocent of doing anything wrong. The movie then explores everything from the top down as to what led to the US military to reject habeas corpus and the Geneva convention to create a perfect storm of torture and murder.

It's powerful when at the end, the soldiers who've been interviewed are the ones who went on trial for abuse and assault, when it's clear that there's blood on the hands of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and a few generals.

When this movie originally came out, John McCain was losing the GOP primaries, so it's interesting he pops up here as a hero until they get a jab in at the end with no evidence.

The final scene is like a twist ending, when it's revealed director Alex Gibney's dad was a WWII interrogator, and we see a brief interview with him right before his death on how disgusted he is with what the Bush Administration has done.

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