Friday, July 17, 2009

House Of Horror (The Snapshots Of The Decade)

Standard Operating Procedure (2008)Directed By Errol Moris
Unlike other Abu Gharib documentaries you may see this is the only one, which actually interviews the soldiers who were featured in and took those now legendary photos. The soldiers involved in the incident agreed to be in the film only if they were paid ( a controversy for some), after most of them were dishonorably dischargedErrol Morris is back at the top of his game, visually, and editing wise, and Danny Elfman's score, carries compells and eases the viewer through a great deal of disturbing material (the squemish may want to just skip this entry altogether). A picture holds a thousand words, for Morris, if not more, and whats fascinating about this movie, is all of those words come from those involved, laying the scenes, stories, and people behind each image of humiliation, torture, and murder. Everyone's got a story to tell.But aside from just re-telling the News, Morris also has a point to make with this, or the film makes the point (depending on which way you look at it), that the official story of "a few bad apples", "boys will be boys", etc, is a simplistic reduction of a complex series of events that involved large group of people over large stretches of time. Though horrific, most of what the soldiers did, handcuffing someone naked to a bed in a Christ-like "stress positions" for hours with women's panties over their face, for instance, is not torture, as it doesnt leave visible damage, it's S.O.T.(standard operating procedure.). It's how the "main interrogation center in Iraq", runs things, and it's important, if nothing else, to see and hear about what is considered normalcy, in a jail in Iraq, where we might be getting our "vital information". It's like watching a dark avant-garde film a times, or something from the "theater of cruelty", also I found myself flashing back to the recent "Blindness", naked malnourished prisoners in squalid conditions stumbling around in the dark.So if something like "Salo" is your idea of a good time, or if your in the mood, for an intense, vivid, and vitally important documentary (much more interesting and damaging than anything Micehal Moore's made). Up there with "Encounters At The End Of World", "Crumb", and "Capturing The Friedmans", as one of the best, if not the best documentary of the decade.

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