The World now knows of the atrocities that America committed at Guantanamo Bay, but a new film by director Michael Winterbottom shines a blistering spotlight on the crimes committed by our country.
The first time I heard about this film was when it premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. The reports that came out of the festival said that the film had a "Fahrenheit 9/11" effect on the festival and that it was a must see for the entire world. My interests were obviously peaked from that news and I rushed to the theatre to see it when it finally opened here in the States.
The film follows the journey of 3 friends and carries them from their normal care free life in the UK to being accused of knowing the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden's and ultimately their captivity at Guantanamo.
The Director, Michael Winerbottom, combines documentary with acted drama in a way that has never really been done as successfully and powerfully.
The film is comprised of 2 seperate but interweaving sections. One section of the film is a documentary. It consists of on-camera interviews with the 3 inmates. The other section is a scripted reenactment of what happened to them on their journey.
Winterbottom smartly shot the whole thing using digital video so that the on-camera interviews cut seamlessly with the scenes of acted dramatization.
The story of these 3 innocent friends who were in the wrong place at the wrong time is shocking. They were in Pakistan because one of them was to be married there in late September of 2001. While in Pakistan, they hear about the conflict in Afghanistan. At the beginning of October 2001, they decide to travel to the country to help give humanitarian aid. Upon their arrival, they
immediately realize that they have walked directly into a war zone and want to leave as soon as possible.
However, because of the constant bombing by the US, they were trapped there and could not get out. They were eventually found on a truck with other Afghans that the US Army thought might be Al Queda.
The remainder of the film painfully explains their journey through the hell that is Guantanamo.
There are many parts of the film where the audeince laughed out loud because of the ridiculousness of the situation. It has many of those moments where you laugh because you really want to cry.
The 3 friends were interrogated by Americans and these scenes proved to be some of the most ridiculous. These 3 innocent people were not only accused of being part of Al Queda and knowing where Osama Bin Laden was, but of attending Al Queda rallies years before they were actually in Afghanistan.
After almost 3 years of torture by our country, they were finally found innocent on all charges and released. It is embarrassing as an American to see what our country has done in "our name".
The torture the totally innocent people received for almost 3 years is something that I cannot live with or accept as an American citizen.
Although I didn't think the pacing of the film was perfect, it is still an important film for Americans to see. We cannot live in denial of our crimes any longer and this film shines a huge spotlight on what we have done.
The Road to Guantanamo is in theatres now. I strongly urge you to see it.