Friday, March 9, 2012

Standard Operating Procedure

Errol Morris, 2008, 118m

This  indelible documentary captures through interviews and photographs a fraction of the events that must have occurred at the infamous Abu Ghraib detention and interrogation center during the Iraq war. The photographs relate mostly to the humiliation and degradation to an animal level of the detainees (dragged around on a dog leash, naked human pyramids, etc). The photographs were taken as a lark by female and male soldiers at the lowest rungs which got leaked, became evidence at a trial and led to terms of imprisonment for a few. The interviews express the views of the perpetrators: dim, passive minds at the bottom of the hierarchy in the juggernaut of war. The uncomfortable question that arises is that most people could have been at either end of the stick, but for the placements of chance. To quote Marlon Brando from a film of his: "It was you , Charlie." Perhaps more significant is the fact that such a courageous film could be made and exhibited and considered for awards. Neutrality and objectivity are the hallmarks of this documentarian.


Seongyong Cho said...

Neutrality and objectivity - they are the beauty of Errol Morris' documentaries.

S M Rana said...

I find Errol to be much superior to Herzog, whose Into the Abyss is proving to be not particularly interesting, for one thing Herzog's distracting accent.