10 March 2006 | spinnersthegrinners
A shocking story told exceedingly well. (In my opinion!)
This docu-drama focuses on the story of the 'Tipton Three' - young guys from Birmingham who went to Pakistan to organise a wedding, decided to pop over to Afghanistan (I can only assume through naivety, ignorance and a misguided sense of adventure) to 'help' (though it appeared that little effort was made) and ended up getting embroiled in the conflict, captured with Taliban fighters and subsequently picked up by US Marines for the crime of speaking English in a foreign country. From this point 'til their release, they are essentially told that they are Al Qaeda in the hope that they'll admit to what is obviously not true.
If you can put yourself in their places, this is a harrowing film. (I spent a lot of it with my hand over my mouth...!) Being in a situation where you are being bullied and tortured - via some truly horrible methods and treatment - into admitting you're something you're not, with no means of proving your innocence must be...well, I can only imagine. I have every respect with the way they seemed to deal with it, especially given the candid way they discuss it in the documentary inserts that regularly appear throughout the movie.
For those who think it's unbalanced: I understand. However, it is THEIR story. Certain troops are shown in a human light, though let's face it: from what the film tells us, we're dealing with a situation involving the US equivalent of the SS
You want the other side of the story? Listen to any George W. Bush press conference.
The acting is natural, the story flows, some of the shots are dramatically documentary-like and I felt that it fully deserved the praise it's received. Sadly, I feel that the only people who will watch this are the ones who are aware of the issues already, while middle-America will, I dare say, completely ignore it. Either way, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend spending 95 minutes of your time taking it all in. Sleeping afterwards might be a problem though. It was for me.