Taxi To The Dark Side explores Guantanamo horrors

PUBLISHED: 11:35 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:09 07 September 2010

Taxi to The Dark Side (15) Director Alex Gibney Documentary 106 mins Four star rating Taxi to the Dark Side is a splendid movie title though you may consider it a rather florid effort for a documentary about the use of torture by the US military. The f

Taxi to The Dark Side (15)

Director Alex Gibney Documentary

106 mins

Four star rating

Taxi to the Dark Side is a splendid movie title though you may consider it a rather florid effort for a documentary about the use of torture by the US military.

The film backs it up though - starting with innocent taxi driver Dilawar from Afghanistan, who is arrested, tortured and murdered at the Bagram Air Force base.

It expands out to become a study of how the use of torture has become systematic in places such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

The Dark Side is a phrase used by Dick Cheney in the week of 9/11, to describe the necessity for the States to respond with extra ruthlessness.

Allusions to Annakin Skywalker's drift towards evil are presumably unintentional, though apt as the wider concern is how US has lost any claim to moral ascendancy.

The film, which won the Best Documentary award at this year's Oscars, is certainly comprehensive.

Over the course of 106 minutes you will become acquainted with more stress positions, sexual humiliation and sensory deprivation techniques than you may feel you really need. (Some of the images are quite graphic.)

The purpose of the film is to show that it is not a matter of a few bad apples, but that the policy comes right from the top. The movie is depressing in all directions. There are unimaginable individual horrors, as well as a sense of overwhelming general hopelessness.

Dilawar was in the wrong place at the wrong time; though perhaps the same could be said of the soldiers who were court martialled for his death (interviewed here) who were part of greater machine, one that had effectively divorced them for their own moral judgement.

What really gets you is how totally arbitrary it all is. It's Kafka Incorporated.

Michael Joyce


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