Release Date: March 23rd, 2007 (Cinema Village) by Truly Indie.
Directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Yunis Khatayer Abbas, an Iraqi man wrongfully detained in Abu Ghraib for a crime he never committed.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The story of how Yunis Khatayer Abbas ended up in prison sounds both bizarre and frightening. U.S. soldiers raided his home in Iraq and mistook a box with a shampoo bottle in it for bomb-related equipment. Before his detainment in the Abu Ghraib prison, soldiers arrested him and ask him all sorts of questions ranging from his favorite color and Harrison Ford films to whether he planned to assassinate Tony Blair, which he denies. He luckily managed to escape the physical torture that most prisoners endured in other sections of the prison by being in the section for those of low intelligence. In an interesting turn-of-events, he claims to be good friends with one particular U.S. soldier, Benjamin Thompson. Co-directors Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein include many personal interviews with Yunis and Benjamin, some of which are surprisingly hilarious and absurd. They also wisely include very lively comic-book-style animation and texts to dramatize some of the action. Fortunately, none of this documentary feels too preachy and, moreover, it manages to be quite compelling, absorbing and timely.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It’s quite sad and terrifying how an innocent individual can be treated like a criminal without any real proof. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? The story of Yunis Khatayer Abbas is just a microcosm of a much larger problem which highlights the problems of prejudice, inhumanity and injustice post-9/11.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Equally absurd and terrifying. A thoroughly compelling, absorbing and timely documentary.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "P" Menu