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Movie Review: Standard Operating Procedure

Alternate Title: Blowup

Story: The Interrotron sounds like a torture device out of Star Trek, does it not? Errol Morris, the Oscar winning director of Fog of War (http://www.judithwolfe.com/lobosmoviereviews/reviews/fogofwar.html) and the amazing Thin Blue Line created a unique lens device where the subject looks directly at Mr. Morris' image and not at the camera when they are being interviewed. This allows for a more intimate portrait of the interviewee.

This time out Errol Morris tackles the national disgrace we all know as Abu Ghraib. Yes, you remember those awful images and you may have seen interviews on TV with those involved or perhaps have seen the made Rory Kennedy documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxfPpi7IUaU). Morris, in a slick, breaking out of the mold, documentary presentation, interviews six of the soldiers who were directly involved and recreates some of the prison scenes.

Morris' interview technique is minimal. He asks a question and lets the camera roll. Inevitably, the subject will continue speaking when an interviewer does not interrupt. This is terrific filmmaking.

Do we learn anything new? I learned that General Sanchez, head of the operation over the prison, allowed a one day amnesty, for anyone at the prison to destroy CD's, photos, hard drives or anything else that might otherwise implicate them or anyone else. I learned that no one above the rank of Staff Sergeant was convicted of anything and I learned that these soldiers have no remorse. They were, as we all know so well, just 'following orders.'

You can probably add this fine film to the long list of Iraq War films that will not be seen by the general public. They probably prefer their War movie to be more in the line of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Sigh.

If you are not going to see the film at least spend two minutes and watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8vk3v1BJBE

Acting: You will recognize the faces of those involved if you have watched this story unfold over the years. Lynndie England, Javal Davis, Sabrina Harman, Tim Dugan, Megan Ambuhl Graner, Jeremy Sivits, Janis Karpinski and Brent Pack are some of the talking heads.

Predilection: I am a political junkie.

Critters: Two very scary military police dogs.

Sex Spectrum: There is only simulated sex photos to debase the prisoners. There are many photos of naked prisoners as well. The images are very disturbing.

Blatant Product Placement: It turns out 'be all that you can be' is not such a good thing.

Soundtrack: An at times, over the top soundtrack by veteran Danny Elfman.

Theater Audience: About 50 other mesmerized theater goers at the Angelika Theater on Houston Street

Squirm Scale: It does not get much more squirmy than this.

Drift Factor: It could have been edited.

Oscar Worthy: Perhaps. It is probably released too early in the season to be considered for next year's award season. We have very short memories.

Soap Box: Go to my web site for political views. http://www.judylobo.wordpress.com/

Big Screen or Rental: Rental is fine and you would do well to rent all of Morris' other films too.

Length: Two hours.