EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE (director/writer: Errol Morris; cinematographers: Robert Chappell/Robert Richardson; editors: Andy Grieve/Steven Hathaway/Dan Mooney; music: Danny Elfman; Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Julie Ahlberg/Errol Morris; Sony Picture Classics; 2008)|
bore and a real pain to sit through."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Documentarian Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line"/"Gates of Heaven"/"The Fog of War") directs this softball probing film on the aftermath from Abu Ghraib in 2003, as the MP soldiers involved-members of the 372nd Military Police Company-give their side of the story. What emerges is a bunch of pathetic low-level soldiers still not understanding that their actions were not acceptable only knowing that they were thrown under the bus by their superiors and that it was stupid to take photos of their criminal actions that could be used as evidence against them. Morris never gets around to tracking down the real culprits, the higher-ups, in this fascist-like torture prison, and interviews only these inexperienced and inept soldiers who said they were encouraged by their commanders to humiliate the detainees so they could be broken down for interrogation and thought since it was a war zone what they were doing was SOP.
Unfortunately the frank
interviews with the so called bad apples, all tend to
make the interviewees look less like monsters than
just idiots who lacked good judgment. It tells us
little that we didn't already know before, as it
unpleasantly revisits the infamous prison by using the
photos that convicted a bunch of the unsympathetic
grunts and re-enactments
of these photos, without getting to the bigger story of the
coverup that outrageously had no repercussions for the
brass or any Bush official (except for the woman
general of the prison, Army Reserve brigadier general
Karpinski, of the 800th Military Police Brigade in
Iraq, who was
made a scapegoat and relieved of her command and
demoted to a colonel).
Besides not coming up with
anything new to say about Abu
Ghraib or the ill-conceived Iraq War or Bush's
mismanagement of it, the pic lets everyone off
the hook in too easy a way; and, for entertainment
value, is a bore and a real pain to sit through.
REVIEWED ON 8/9/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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