First documentary ever to be nominated for the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival (2008). See more »
Tim Dugan, civilian interrogator (as himself):
You gotta consider yourself dead, and if you come back, you're just a lucky bastard, you know. But if you're there, and you consider yourself already dead, you can do all the shit you have to do. I wouldn't recommend a vacation to Iraq anytime soon.
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"Standard Operating Procedure" is without a doubt one of the most terrifying films to come out in the last few years. It is a bold documentary which may be at times too gut-wrenching for some people to watch, not that this should ever prevent anybody from seeing it. It was a good decision to look at the events at Abu Gharib mainly through the eyes of the convicted military officers; and of course the photographs speak for themselves. Apart from the depth of the material, the filmmakers have done an outstanding job with the enactments, the visuals and the brilliant music by Danny Elfman. Although the documentary does point out and emphasize that high-ranking officers were never imprisoned for the depicted crimes, in my opinion, the film does fail to ask many essential questions that I feel should have been included in this documentary. Such as: Why do we insist seeing these events as more of an embarrassment on the part of the U.S. than an insult on the Iraqi prisoners? Since the soldiers frequently mention that they are "just following orders", who exactly are these orders coming from? Why will the U.S. Military not allow Charles Graner to be interviewed? What kind of a system is this that can categorize a completely naked "detainee" handcuffed backwards to his bed or another prisoner made to stand for a long time in a difficult position by the fear of being electrocuted as "standard operating procedure"? I am aware that the answers to these questions would stretch the format the director has chosen for this documentary, but I still believe that Errol Morris should have looked more openly into these territories in order to have made an even bolder film; and bold, courageous and very well made this film certainly is.
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