Camp X-Ray [DVD]
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A young soldier escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn't going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she's sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years
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A film, which at first glance portrays the mundane nature of life in Guantanamo Bay. There are absorbing scenes of detainees - let us not forget they are not prisoners - in black hoods and orange jumpsuits - none the less it is still a startling image, but the allegories with which Sattler plays on are from WikiLeaks articles about the institution and other works about the War on Terror.
The character of Ali is bit too good to be true because he has a fine mastery of the English language and Harry Potter books. He is clearly bright and educated; he has a sense of comedy in spite of his situation. It is easy to see how for Cole aka Blondie - finds it not hard to find mutual ground with Ali, and for Ali not to find shared ground with Cole. The resultant still gives over to impressive performances by Moaadi, but - and here is the key point, the only time we have exchanges with any other detainees is when they are yelling at the guards or acting up. Even a subplot about Cole being sexualised by her superior Corporal Ransdell (Lane Garrison) - and when she spurns his aggressive sexual advances has potential, but fizzles to nowhere - apart from his jealousy of Ali and his “apparent connection” to Cole.
One thing that needs to be pointed out is how the film captures the monotony of life at Guantanamo Bay well. There are several long camera shots of the MPs walking in a circle around the cellblock looking in on prisoners one at a time to make sure they are not doing anything like killing themselves. As Ransdell points out to the latest batch of new guards, they are not there to stop detainees from absconding; they are there to thwart them from dying. It is a justly forbidding, but sums up their main duty on the base. The recurring nature of life in Guantanamo Bay is a repetitive theme, and it adds surprising tension in the film's most climactic exchange concerning Cole and Ali.
Finally, Camp X-Ray is not going to change hearts and minds, what it is - is a compelling character piece, and it is very well acted by the two leads that are natural, engaging and accomplished at generating candid instants of surprise and impulsiveness
Small-Town girl 'Amy Cole' (Kirsten Stewart)joins the military in the hope of expanding her horizons and indeed
to make a difference, when, instead of 'Iraq' she becomes assigned to 'Guantanamo Bay' Cuba, she quickly finds
her idealisms far from the realities of the camp, soon learning that the detainees she has to watch over have little
or no regard for her, they do not easily accept a woman in a position of authority over them.
The detainees are locked up like animals often behaving so, they react against being told when to eat, and when to
sleep, they do not consider the guards have the authority to make demands upon them.
'Cole' strikes up an unlikely friendship with detainee '471' which is against the guidelines of the compound rules...
the friendship will make her question the beliefs she'd held with regards to the war on terror.
Will the attention she gives to the detainee will surely be noticed by her senior officers, will it bring into question
her commitment to the posting ?
The film try's to portray some of the realities of the controversial compound where suspects were held without trial..
'Kirsten Stewart' try's her best to be convincing in the role, of course she is remembered for her part in the 'Twilight'
movie-series....in my view, i don't see her ever becoming an Oscar nominee ??
The film is worth a viewing even though it probably doesn't quite give a full picture of the goings-on in the camp, it
does have snatches of some of the methods used to control detainees who are problematic.
There is much use of strong language and some scenes of a violent nature.
It can be obtained on from America and is Region 'A' also available from the continent probably on Region 'B'
* The Making Of
Then she meets Ali who has been detained for years in a small cell. He loves Harry Potter and misses his old life but detention without trial means he has no rights not even the basic ones established under The Geneva Convention. He is visibly lonely and hanging onto sanity and life by a thread but he is attracted to this new guard and slowly he breaks down her reserve and they connect on a very human level. This though is verboten and soon she has to work out who really is her enemy.
Now this is a very well made film, it avoids over sentimentality and crass judgements and instead focuses on the ordinary and by doing so shows how extra ordinary it can be. Upstanding performances are found across the board here but Peyman Moaadi (‘A Separation’ and ‘About Elly’)as Ali is particularly noteworthy. This is a film about conflict but also about removing the barriers that cause it; it is thoughtful and manages to hold your attention throughout- a rather excellent watch and so recommended.
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Kristen has an amazing role and plays it perfectly.