User Reviews (18)

Add a Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Being the guy from the other side, i was immediately insulted by Hollywood choice to Capitalize on a tragedy, because in no way, shape or form, Hollywood would respect the victims and show what actually happened. if you want to see what actually happened then go watch a Documentary called "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib", this movie on the other hand was a poorly executed, yet over-dramatic bullshit that never happened with a "Based on true events" sticker slapped to it.

    Shockingly, it was the debut movie of the Actor/Director/Writer Luke Moran, who also took the leading role in this movie, which bring the first question, why in the world would your debut attempt at Hollywood picture be something really hard to interpret, because, in one way or another, it has to be a political movie, it has to play it safe and make sure not to insult both sides, and it has to deliver a powerful message about the American policy in Iraq, there's no way around it, however, this movie managed to find a way around it, by doing absolutely nothing.

    It's the story of Jack Farmer, an American solider deployed to Abu Ghraib prison for an initial period of six months, after arriving in place, the movie slap you in the face with the poor living conditions of the American soldiers, with no electricity or clean water, and with bombs falling on them the entire time, which is the movie "building up" for what it should happen next, so, after working in motor pool for a period of time, Farmer apply to serve as an MP (Military Police) as to the fact that the prison is understaffed, during this time he develop a good relationship with an inmate in which the inmate told him that he's an innocent man and was arrested during a massive arrest after a bomb went out and killed 18 civilians. three days prior to go home, he receive an order to stay for another six months in Iraq, but with a two weeks vacation to home in the upcoming months, while serving as an MP, he try to defend his inmate friend and offer him food and question the people doing the torture/investigation and get told that "as a solider, he shouldn't think, his job is to follow orders", so, he find himself unable to change anything. the movie cuts days very fast, in a way that wouldn't let you develop a relation with the main character, and it failed miserably to show any character development at all during the entire movie. cuts to few days later, the lieutenant tell Farmer that he won't be leaving for a vacation because he can't lose him and his inmate friend confess after being brutally tortured that he did commit these crimes and he did bomb people, and from there, the movie drops to zero, as they suddenly show Farmer being mean and loud on inmates abusing them and yelling at them, with no decent back-story as what have happened.

    The movie is 1 hours, 20 minutes, in which nothing ever happened, the entire movie was about one American solider and one Iraqi inmate, there are no characters in this movie, it might as well, removed the inmate and all you have left is a story going nowhere, you have no idea where the inmate/solider relationship is going, and the movie had little to absolutely no dialog, and some horrible effects, close-ups and flashes poorly executed and overall amateur production value, it was a poor attempt at anything really and it failed to show any value, and we can all agree on that.

    However, since i like to dig deeper, i won't give this movie any credit, which i usually do for debut/indie films, not only it wasn't anything about anything, it managed to be even worse than that, because, when that one, honest/innocent looking inmate was shown as guilty, then, that just goes to justify the soldiers actions, it even tries to victimize the soldiers, and show you that when they show compassion, they get stabbed and betrayed, which is downright misleading, and brutally insulting to the actual innocent people who were imprisoned there during massive arrests in Iraqi streets, and to add insult to injury, they show you that even the most decent solider can be so easily brutalized and then get convicted of war crimes for "just doing his job", hell, the movie never addresses the people whose in-charged of the torture, or the people who approved the torture, and it vaguely implied that torture is the best way to get information out of inmates, it even showed so little torture of inmates so the audience won't feel very sorry for them, and even if they did, then showing that man being guilty is a brutal justifications of the tragedy that happened there, seriously, f**k this movie.

    Overall, a poorly executed movie with no value whatsoever, and brutally insulting to the victims who were tortured to death in that prison, the movie never achieved a valid point at all, instead it victimized the American soldiers and showed us that torture is the way to go, hell, this movie was discredited by people who served there as MP's who watched this movie and said that it was misleading, so, how bad is it? Insultingly bad.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an awkward film. It's twisting the reality. It's all a lie showing that the US army always have good intentions. While the reality they were devils entered Iraq to steal the oil, kill, rape, and destroy everything. That honest soldier shouldn't have gone to Iraq in the first place. Because he went there just for money. He chose to build his life and destroy the life of the others. Also, it does not make sense that Iraqi detainee was a scared coward guy and he was the one who bombed people. They did not show any scene about what media showed in showed about the crimes the USA army committed in Iraq. This movie is trying to block the reality from USA citizens to justify the crimes committed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is full of misinformation, holes, and downright misleading. I was one of the soldiers of the 72nd that opened that prison in 2003 (March-November). The very first unit to step foot in that prison. This is in no way what took place. If you are looking for a some kind of historical documentary, as I was, look some place else. All this is, is some Hollywood magic and creative writing for entertainment ONLY. You don't request to just be an MP, then go working a prison. It is a job you have to train for, just like civilian law enforcement. I guess I am bitter due to the fact that I was there, I dealt with the inmates, the working environment, and the constant threat of death or physical harm, by the inmates and outside insurgents. We did not have friends on the other side of the wire. They wanted to kill you, not have a cup of chai. The inmates would clap and cheer at seeing American soldiers hit by mortar fire in the compound. If you called this movie "Prison X" and made no mention of Abu Ghraib, then at least, you wouldn't be feeding a line of crap to the public about something you have no clue about.
  • This film doesn't cover much of the actual torture that happened in Abu Ghraib but it somewhat gets the picture through. The soldier has a bond with one of the inmates which basically has nothing to do with the movie. You begin to wonder whether the film is about the soldier waiting to go home or his relationship with the inmate. It skips through days and you start to lose track of what was actually happening. The ending was pretty bad didn't explain much, leaves you wondering what happened to the soldier. Had to watch it over a period of two days because I lost interest about half way through but I still wanted to give it another shot and finish watching it, for a debut film is wasn't all that bad, so I would give Luke Moran credit for that.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is basically a story that tries to justify torture by showing how heroic American soldiers are corrupted by the horrors brought upon them by murderous terrorists. It tries to make you believe it's a true story by sticking a date in the film and stating it is inspired by true events but even the most patriotic of Americans can surely see through such a one sided unbalanced fantasy. Just when you think that the movie is examining the complexity of war and showing how decent people on both sides are being damaged by conflict we learn that the one prisoner that seemed decent was just a cold blooded killer and the only way to get the info was through torture. The implication here being that every prisoner detained was guilty when the chances of this are extremely remote given that people were held without trial. In the U.S people are innocent until proved guilty, why should this not be the case for rest of the world or is it just for U.S citizens. We learn how a very decent caring U.S soldier can be corrupted and driven to commit acts of torture yet there is not back story to show what drove the prisoners to commit their horrible crimes. Perhaps it is easier to think that these people are mindless killers rather than human beings who were once innocent children. I am not anti-American I am anti-bullshit. My review my may come across as anti-American because I am pointing out the complete lack of balance in this story. Unfortunately war is not as simple as the good guys vs the bad guys though it seems that is what this story would have you believe. If it wasn't for the woeful story this could have been a decent movie.
  • Certainly a watchable movie at least. Could have been better. Still, I was drawn into the story and found it entertaining... Well rounded American boy finds himself in a rear echelon outfit in Iraq. Originally working in a motor pool. He hears the prison next door is short staffed and willing to take non military-police personnel as guards. It all becomes factual at that point, leading to a similar situation to the well known abuses and tell-all photos of the scandal we saw on every news channel back in the day.

    The side stories are not developed enough and are too cliché'. It makes soldiers appear too emotionally fragile. There is a scene where one squad mate goes nuts, has a situational reaction, but its not believable. At least show the soldier getting a dear Jon letter on top of having financial stress, losing his home or something. But no, they make it look like rear echelon soldiers go nuts for no reason. They also do not develop the lead character's reason for volunteering for guard duty. Show these guys on the road dodging IED's, then it would make sense to volunteer as a guard in Abu Ghraib. These things need to be portrayed to the audience to make the movie believable.

    The movie does not fall completely flat. What saves it is the relationship the character develops with one of the prisoners in the cell block he is guarding. There is also constant tension in the scenes within cell block, as the guard is alone with several prisoners. This keeps the viewer interested as the story progresses. The guard walks a fine line between maintaining control or becoming abusive.

    I had no problem with the ending. Frankly I wondering where the real life news stories of Abu Ghraib were going to meet the fiction. Just as I said: Is this about the same Abu Ghraib? I had my answer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's about a morally strong soldier, who volunteers to be a guard at Abu Ghraib while he's deployed to Iraq in order to feel like he's helping with the war. It's about how strong he held onto his moral convictions, and the various struggles he dealt with that eventually caused him to break, making him one of the infamous abusers in Abu Ghraib. The inner details of the Iraqi War are still mostly unknown to people who weren't there, so some viewers don't understand the point of showing the unit, or mortar attacks, or the deployment extension, but they're what held Farmer together, and what broke him down, all at the same time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Let me start out by saying its a damn good film. I like it especially because it's not a film that paints the soldiers there as complete monsters as the media would have you believe.

    Now. What this film is about is simply the repercussions of being in the kind of messed up situation a lot of these guys were in. Our main character for instance almost got killed, got humiliated, and basically had to deal with all sorts of s h i t both from his superiors as well as inmates he was in charge of. That kind of thing changes you without question and that is what this film attempts to show us.

    The ending part of the film asks the question: What kind of person could do something like this. Like... were these guys sadists before all this happened...did they enjoy it....was it part of them...were they forced to by their superiors?... So many theories, so many answers...

    Now. The conclusion we reach here is that when you are surrounded by so much bad stuff it CAN change you. You might not enjoy what you do but you start to come to terms with it due to the fact that the guys you're messing up aren't innocent at all. Lots of people might argue the dehumanization factor that plays a part psychologically but personally I find it to be far simpler than that.

    Our main character was sure that he was dealing with an innocent man. Later he becomes convinced the same guy was lying to him and thus he changes his behavior towards him and everybody else. Whether the man was innocent or not is not made clear due to the torture present. But what matters is the simple fact that the guy felt betrayed. He went from seeing him as a friend to as an enemy. Therein lies the acceptance of the brutality which many find to be totally unacceptable and impossible to relate to. What some people forget though might be what they themselves might do when in the care of terrorists who's got the blood of dozens on their hands.

    Lotta people wanted this film to focus on the torture and painting the American guards as devils but thats is NOT what this film is about. We know about all that already. What we don't know about is what happened from the American soldier's perspective and THAT is what this film brings to the table. A refreshing change in my opinion.

    This film is in my opinion NOT about sadism, cruelty, evil, being subject to the strict orders of those above you. To me this film is about humanity. What we feel and thus what we do when we encounter people we despise and hate due to how they are or how we think they are.

    Our main character here was under the impression he was dealing with monsters, murderers, terrorists etc. How would you expect a man to react when in the company of such scum. Some would argue the guard to remain professional but deep down that is not realistic. We humans act on our emotions. Even soldiers. That is what we see here. Humanity both on good and bad and in between.

    It's a great film and its a MUST see for people who know about what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison during the war. It will grant you another view into what happened. An important view in my own personal opinion.

    All in all you need to understand what this film is REALLY about. Once again the focus is on what the title implies. The boys...of Abu Ghraib. If you fail to see that you will most likely not understand nor see the film for what it really is. I have already seen a review that was written by a guy who CLEARLY missed that entirely.

    You must accept this particular film for what it is and where its focus lies and not where you wanted it to be.

    I believe this to be a very good film. A solid watch. I think a 6 out of 10 is fair. A really good film indeed. Good because it doesn't strike me as biased in any way. But manages to include features both good and evil in regard to humanity itself, tells a story of one particular guard and his experiences there and still manages to NOT appear one sided.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I did not really understand what the movie was about precisely; was it about the squad being a squad, just like the beginning of the movie portrays it to be, or is it about the MP duties and his relation with the inmate, or is it about him and his girlfriend, or is it about the torture that took place? the movie was jumping back and fourth between events and loose connections. Also, it does not give a fair edge to both sides of the story, *SPOILERS* when the soldier and the inmate build a really good relationship, and then just like that, the inmate turns out to be not innocent? I mean that is harsh and biased. Many people who were imprisoned in Abu Ghraib were innocent and had nothing on them, and they got tortured and many of them died, for no reason. I think if the director focused on those people more than the others, it would be a better overall story. But, that is just my opinion.

    Give it a watch, and build your own opinion about it, my opinion is that it was a waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Any movie that is "inspired" or "based on" true events should not be taken as a history lesson, but as the writer's interpretation of those events. Real life is rarely as black and white or so simple that a complex situation can be presented fairly and comprehensively by one writer, or even a group of writers. This movie sets out to present a point of view that explains how some of those serving at Abu Ghraib may have committed acts they would not commit under ordinary circumstances, and does a great job presenting that particular point. There are, of course, some obvious stereotypes presented concerning those serving in the military, which I always consider a disservice to those who serve, but stereotypes serve a purpose if they are somewhat accurate and necessary for the plot. The scene where Jack Farmer returns home, thought somewhat stereotypical, personifies the emotions of soldiers returning from active duty after encountering things they would never have anticipated, and after acting in ways that they would not under "normal" circumstances.

    That said, it is still one point of view that may or may not represent the behavior of any one soldier or group that served. Still, I gave it a 7 because the movie held my interest and had a sufficient plot and acting to convincingly grab and hold my attention and to communicate the emotion and thoughts being experienced by the characters. Watch and enjoy, or not, but realize this is entertainment, not a history lesson, and certainly not a definitive explanation for a complex situation.
  • Just my two cents about this film.

    I started watching it and at the beginning it just felt like a childish/overly American movie that would be hard to stay awake for.. But as the movie went on it grew on me.

    From feeling extremely mediocre I got to think it was actually decent and when it was over I thought it was quite good. I thought of it as a "unknown gem". Then I go on IMDb and see the ranks.. And it's 5,3 / 10. Really? For me that is a highly mediocre grade and I've seen my fair share of 5 / 10 movies... This is far better.

    After quickly scanning what others felt. It's anti-American reviews and "this didn't actually happen" opinions all over the place. But it's a movie! Sure there are movies based on reality and movies that is far from.. But at the end of the day: It's just a movie! I enjoyed it and regardless of what I feel about every move or part in the movie. It made me think of how it CAN be like. Not how it actually is or isn't.

    There are many different movies about War and I must say I've seen plenty that isn't as entertaining or as thought-provoking as this one. See it for what it is.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Do not watch this movie if you are looking for a simple thought. There is no happy ending because it is about war. There are no tight knit band of buddies going to fight the good fight. This is about a side of war that no one saw at the time, and at this point, no one really thinks about anymore except those who experienced it firsthand. It will raise more questions than it answers.

    In the end you will not have closure. This is on purpose.

    This movie is complicated because it is about one of the most complicated wars the United States has ever fought.

    If you want a movie that makes you think about war and its relation to justice, humanity, and the truth then please, watch this.
  • This is an extremely underrated film. Although there are no lengthy or particularly graphic scenes of torture in it, the atmosphere of abuse and fear at the Abu Ghraib prison is excellently conveyed. The acting is brilliant, particularly from Luke Moran. The breakdown of a fundamentally good person into a hardened soldier capable of committing atrocities is portrayed very well, with our sympathies lying of course with the detainees who are being subjected to torture, but also with Jack himself, the one committing torture and abuse. Although the film does not really offer anything new about the atrocities committed at the prison, it is a very human portrayal of the soldiers and it helps us to understand how war affected them to the extent that they ended up committing brutal acts of torture, whereas previously they would have been disgusted by such acts. I found the ending particularly upsetting, although as a whole the film isn't as hard a watch as, say, Taxi To The Darkside or The Road to Guantanamo, which deal with similar themes, due to the audience being able to empathise more with the soldiers in this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The most slow, boring and uninteresting movie that existed.

    A soldier who just walks around and feel sorry about himself with his unity.... talks with a prisoner who pretends to be innocent until he admits he is not... and suddenly the young soldier is a real mean marine in jail, for a second, and boom... the he is going home.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I went into this film knowing nothing about it, realising at a certain point what war crimes it was based on it then became a lot more interesting, I don't have a lot to say about this film apart from I enjoyed the acting the story line was good but then around the last 25 min mark they completely destroyed it! it seemed they were blaming the detainees for their acts of torture which I found extremely offencive. I would not recommend this film to anyone who believes that what these soldiers did in real life was crimes of war because this will just anger you, if you're the kind of person that excuses your country for these atrocities then you'll love it, blame it on the victims and all.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a gritty war drama that utilizes Abu Ghraib and answers the question posed at the end, "What kind of person could do this?"

    Jack (Luke Moran) is the all American boy who volunteers to join the service. He is on a boring 6 month tour in the motor pool at Abu Ghraib. Bored with his job, he volunteers to help out the short handed MPs on the "Hard Side." Without any training, save for a quick tour by Sean Astin, Jack is now a fully functional guard of some the the world's most dangerous men.

    Jack is initially appalled at the treatment of the prisoners. he is told "You get used to it." Jack's enthusiasm wanes as his tour gets extended, turning into the man he never thought he could be.

    The film shows some of the torture at Abu Ghraib, but is mild compared to what has been described in the media. The humiliation and much of the torture is down played and can be considered justified to a sympathetic viewer attempting to understand the events. The Military Intelligence and contractors were only briefly mentioned and played no role.

    For those you want to see a woman order naked men to make a pyramid or play leap frog will have to look elsewhere. This film treats the situation perhaps with more sympathy and dignity than it deserves, while at the same time giving us a gritty tale on how "a person could do something like that."

    Worth a view for modern war fans,

    Parental Guide: F-bomb, brief sex. male rear nudity.
  • Everything it's good, I just do not liked that the guy has a friendship with that detainee
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This could have been a full on, disturbing account of the horrors and inhumanities that went on in the US 'prisons' in Iraq. Instead it's an account of one young man's tour posted at Abu Ghraib. Working in the motor pool he gets bored and volunteers to work in the 'Hard Site' with all of the hardcore detainees. He starts off upset at the way these men are treated and befriends one of them. His tour is extended, he gets upset at a piece of wood, has another shower, uses a portaloo, eats crap food....and then finds out his insurgent friend killed 18 people in a bomb attack. Surprised? He is an insurgent after all....he gets even more upset, has his leave cancelled, has a shower, uses a portaloo, you get the picture. He ends up becoming a nasty piece of work, screaming at the prisoners and playing White Zombie to them very loud. Then he goes home. I really wouldn't bother with this film, it's like an even more boring Jarhead set in a prison.