Taxi to the Dark Side (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/06/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Powerful, shocking and important documentary that confirms all your worst fears about the Bush administration and will leave you feeling angry and powerless.

What's it all about?
Alex Gibney's Oscar-winning documentary examines the shocking mistreatment of United States prisoners of war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. The title comes from the film's central story of Dilwar, an innocent Afghan taxi driver who was tortured to death by American soldiers at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

The film then details how the Bush administration have authorised brutal methods of torture and have then sought to absolve themselves by redefining the legal meaning of the term and drafting legislation that makes it impossible for them to be held accountable at a later date.

The Good
Gibney has assembled a huge amount of disturbing evidence that includes graphic photographs, archive footage and interviews with everyone from military officers, prison guards and former government officials to the victims themselves, as well as the soldiers labelled bad apples for following orders. He even includes an interview with his own father, who relates his experiences as an interrogator during World War II and notes that in those days, the US could at least be relied upon to respect the Geneva Convention (the assurance that a prisoner's human rights would not be violated).

What's worse is that the information gleaned from torture is shown to be unreliable, which is hardly surprising, considering the state of mind of the prisoners after being subjected to the likes of beatings, forced standing, sleep deprivation, sexual assaults, dog attacks and water torture (to name just a few of the methods involved).

The Great
Gibney also notes that the use of torture in movies and TV shows such as 24 has led to a situation where a sickening 35% of Americans believe torture is justified under certain circumstances. This leads you to the depressing conclusion that this situation isn't going away anytime soon.

Worth seeing?
Taxi to the Dark Side is an important documentary that demands to be seen, even if you won't exactly leave with a smile on your face. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Taxi to the Dark Side (18)
Taxi to the Dark Side has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 16/12/2017 22:16

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