Standard Operating Procedure

It’s impossible to talk about Standard Operating Procedure without referencing Taxi to the Dark Side. Fortunately, both documentaries are vital to any discussion about US military interrogation techniques. While Alex Gibney’s Oscar winner uses the death of an Iraqi taxi driver as a framing device, director Errol Morris and writer Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families) examine the issue through visual evidence (they also collaborated on a book of the same name).

While Gibney concentrates on Bhagram, Morris focuses on Abu Ghraib, but his self-described “non-fiction horror film,” which features a dramatic Danny Elfman score and slow-motion reenactments, runs along two tracks. First, he aims to find out what happened at the infamous institution. Along with the photographs and video footage, he speaks to the guards and the brigadier general who oversaw their operations, including former army specialist Lynndie England, who has all the charm of Aileen Wuornos (so memorably immortalized in Monster). As in his Thin Blue Line, accounts contradict other accounts.

While Gibney concentrates on Bhagram, Morris focuses on Abu Ghraib, but his self-described “non-fiction horror film,” which features a dramatic Danny Elfman score and slow-motion reenactments, runs along two tracks. First, he aims to find out what happened at the infamous institution. Along with the photographs and video footage, he speaks to the guards and the brigadier general who oversaw their operations, including former army specialist Lynndie England, who has all the charm of Aileen Wuornos (so memorably immortalized in Monster). As in his Thin Blue Line, accounts contradict other accounts.

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