A yawning chasm of national shame, the U.S. internment camps at Gitmo have produced only torture, suicide and humiliation. Not a single “detainee” (stripped of conventional rights) has been successfully convicted of a crime; to date, only ten have even been charged of one.
The Road to Guantnamo, a U.K. docudrama of raw power and occasional schmaltz, demands viewership, if only to hammer home these injustices being committed in our name. Based on a 115-page dossier by the “Tipton Three,” a trio of benign British Muslims who found themselves incarcerated for two years after straying from their Pakistan wedding plans into Taliban territory, the film intercuts harrowing re-creations of Camp X-Ray alongside interviews with the real-life Three. (A few news clips of bristly Bush or cocky Rumsfeld reveal how detached these leaders are from the truth.)
The lead-up, shot on chaotic locations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, suffers in comparison with Winterbottom’s In This World, a similar hybrid project that managed to summon more dramatic momentum. But once the story gets to Cuba—to the orange jumpsuits, leg irons and head sacks, the open-air cells in the baking sun—the movie is punishing. The Brits are subjected to blaring heavy metal in solitary, ignorant questions by a parade of official buffoons and, ultimately, release without apology. If you find yourself struggling to differentiate the three central actors, something a traditional prison drama might emphasize, know that this puts you in better company than the monsters in charge. (Opens Fri; click here for venues.)—Joshua Rothkopf