The Road to Guantanamo (2006)
UK / English
Part drama, part documentary, The Road to Guantánamo focuses on the Tipton Three, a trio of British Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay for two years until they were released without charge.
A straight up account of extraordinary events.
Clean cut, sharp and poignant, this is a documentary of those the
British press named the "Tipton Three". Three young Englishmen tell
their story of a wedding trip to Pakistan and an unplanned journey into
Afghanistan. Victims of circumstance, their tale leads to incarceration
in Guantanamo Bay and the apparently shocking treatment that ensued.
Whilst the story is told purely from the perspective of the detainees,
there is never any point at which you really doubt the content of the
film. In no way does the portrayal of events seem exaggerated or biased
so as to evoke a stronger reaction from the audience. In parts
sequences seem almost void of emotion in terms of their description,
and surprisingly, the effect is to make it even more hard hitting. Not
overcooking the trauma means what can only be assumed as a factual
depiction of horrifying circumstances comes across quite superbly.
There are points where you can question the realism of the young men's
decisions. For example, the point from which they want to leave Kabul
back for Pakistan only to find themselves trapped with the Taliban is a
little scantily dealt with. This may or may not be wholly accurate, and
of course they felt compelled to follow those they felt were standing
up for their religion, but from the individual interview footage you
can't help feel they were impressionable youths just following their
noses, lost in the surreal adventure of it all.
Perfectly paced, the film spends just the right amount of time on each
area/location of the story. Winterbottom nicely interweaves footage
from British television news to prompt recollection of the perspective
from which the public saw the events in Afghanistan. And with a good
balance of acted reconstruction and subject interview, both the drama
and technicalities feel great. Is there no style or subject this man
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