A historical television series that focuses on the impact of the Underground Railroad during the 19th century, "Underground" offers viewers a message of social progress that's just as relevant in 2017.
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century."
Jean François Heckel,
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.
Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf's life was filled with tragedy.
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
Using the torture and death in 2002 of an innocent Afghan taxi driver as the touchstone, this film examines changes after 9/11 in U.S. policy toward suspects in the war on terror. Soldiers, their attorneys, one released detainee, U.S. Attorney John Yoo, news footage and photos tell a story of abuse at Bagram Air Base, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay. From Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzalez came unwritten orders to use any means necessary. The CIA and soldiers with little training used sleep deprivation, sexual assault, stress positions, waterboarding, dogs and other terror tactics to seek information from detainees. Many speakers lament the loss of American ideals in pursuit of security. Written by
This film is a worthy attempt to bring what has become a familiar subject throughout the Bush years without necessarily giving the other side an opportunity to state their case. While I personally support what the film is saying about questionable, even criminal policies of the Bush Administration's view on "interrogation" as a betrayal of all this country holds dear, the film leaves itself open to attack which is unfortunate. Tidbits are cherry picked from interviews and Congressional testimony, and while it's understandable that major players didn't want to sit down and give an interview, it's glaring that they aren't given an chance to explain why they've said what they said. I'll acknowledge the filmmaker probably has it right, but nevertheless, it's an unfair tactic.
The chief first hand accounts of information are from U.S. Military personnel who have been convicted of crimes (with the exception of one British national who has a harrowing, convincing story to tell). While what they have to say is compelling, the absence of any testimony of those who gave them those orders is absent. We have their attorneys or third parties removed to interpret what happened...or might have happened. While I couldn't be more sympathetic to the bind we've placed our young men and women in, the last thing I wanted to hear from an individual who's been convicted of torture and "wrongful death" (labeled a homicide by the coroner) is "I'm financially ruined." The moral quandary raised by the film isn't nearly answered until the final credits roll.
And where is Congress? Where is the oversight they are obligated to perform? Oh, they're holding hearings on steroid use in baseball.
We're never sure exactly what we're looking at. "Reenactments" are identified briefly, but clearly there is a lot that isn't documentary footage, and the famous photos of Abu Ghrabib reappear over and over frequently out of context.
This is a shameful chapter in American history, and it needs a less doctrinaire film to expose what are, as pointed out, crimes of war. One of the most effective moments is when the filmmaker's father appears over the closing credits. He is a former interrogator in WWII. His outrage rings true, and it should be every American's cry as well.
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