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Movie Review: The Oath

Alternate Title: The Caged Bird Sings

Story: Political junkies like me will find this latest documentary film directed by Laura Poitras delivering more questions than answers. Poitras started out making a film about the homecoming of Guantanamo detainee Salim Hamdan (see trivia category below) but ended up primarily filming his brother-in-law, the charismatic Abu Jandal. So what happened to the original story? Jandal's story fell under the Kleig lights because he was a former bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, admitted to his involvement in jihad activities, knew all of the 9/11 hijackers, spent time in a Yemeni prison and is now a taxi driver in Yemen. Who could resist his story? Add to his resume the fact that he is camera friendly and Poitras' film takes a turn.

We never get to actually see Salim Hamdan but have to be satisfied with an over voice reading some of his letters from Guantanamo. This story is both complex and incomplete. The many questions that are raised necessitates that we, the audience, do some heavy thinking about our Government's action, detention, terrorists and the direction all of our lives are headed towards. It almost makes my head hurt. That said, if you are not afraid to think in a movie - you can handle the truth, can't you?

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGHgn2-I3YU

Acting: This is a documentary so the acting category does not apply. However, Abu Jandal's story has many question marks and I have decided that he might have been acting.

Trivia: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, (2006), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that military commissions set up by the Bush & Co. to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay lack the power to proceed because its structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949. Specifically, the ruling says that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions was violated. Director Laura Poitras won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Features in 2006 for: "P.O.V.: My Country, My Country". She also shared the award with Kirsten Johnson for Best Cinematography at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival for The Oath.

Predilection: I like documentary films.

Critters: 0

Food: 0

Sex Spectrum: 0

Soundtrack: A surprisingly fine soundtrack with music by Osvaldo Golijov, sung by Dawn Upshaw.

Opening Titles: All credits at the end.

Visual Art: I was fascinated by the streets of Yemen - the colors, the sounds, the sights.

Theater Audience: One other guy and me.

Weather: Hot and sunny.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Words of torture make me squirm.

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: If you know the story of Hamdan you will not be in for many surprises however the story of Abu Jandal is another story.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: 90 minutes