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Taxi To the Dark Side
Taxi To the Dark Side
Actors: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring, Willie Brand
Director: Alex Gibney
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
R     2008     1hr 46min

Oscarr-nominated director Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) investigates the torture and killing of an innocent Afghani taxi driver in this gripping probe into reckless abuses of government power. Disturbi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring, Willie Brand
Director: Alex Gibney
Creators: Alex Gibney, Blair Foster, Don Edkins, Don Glascoff, Eva Orner, Hans Robert Eisenhauer
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Steven H. (sehamilton) from BIRMINGHAM, AL
Reviewed on 11/15/2009...
Extremely graphic and disturbing documentary on the torture of detainess at Bagram and Gitmo. Difficult to watch for anyone who cares about human rights. Our military itself determined many deaths were actually homcides, murders, but very little done to bring the killers to justice. A most sad commentary on the legacy of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Not a film to make one proud to be an American. Heartbreaking, but required viewing.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Outstanding Documentary About The Methods Of Torture Being U
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With this extraordinary film director Alex Gibney makes a convincing and well researched case against the acts of torture, abuse and humiliation committed by the U.S. military against political prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

A major sub-plot is the story of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver who ended up dying from injuries suffered while he was held in Bagram, a former Soviet prison coverted into a U.S. detention center for suspected terroists. However, the film explains how Dilawar was actually an innocent man turned in by an actual terroist seeking to throw investigators off his trail. One expert explains how only about 1% of the detainees are actual terroists and that the vast majority were not even arrested by the U.S. military. But rather were turned in by Pakastani and Afghani bounty hunters seeking financial compensation.

The numerous forms of abuse inflicted on these foreign detainees is depicted in gruesome detail. The methods of torture included not only water boarding but various means of sexual humiliation such as having women's panties placed on their heads, forced masturbation and female military officers caressing them while whispering "your mother is a whore" into their ears. The ultimate goal was inflicting a complete mental, physical and emotional breakdown on the prisoners. Other tactics used were sleep depravation achieved by handcuffing detainees to the ceiling for days at a time and the sort of brutal physical assaults that led to the death of the innocent Dilawar.

Of course, it was the low ranking soldiers who ended up facing punishment when these acts of illegal abuse were discovered. But the film makes it very clear that they were simply following orders handed down from the highest levels of the Bush administration. Particularly at fault were chicken hawks Cheney and Rumsfield. In fact, it was Cheney himself who gave this doc its title when he referred to how the U.S. must go over to the "dark side" in its military and intelligence methods.

The film concludes with a powerful statement from the director's father Frank Gibney. He describes how, as an military interrogator in World War II and the Korean War, he and other officers were required to follow a strict code of conduct that respected the human rights of prisoners. But with this new "dark side' policy the U.S. miltary is instead following the tactics of the Communists, Fascists and even the Spanish Inquistion. They are not only ignoring the rules laid down by the Geneva Convention, but even the U.S. Constitution itself - which guarantees all prisoners the right to counsel and a speedy trial. These "dark side" tactics are not those of the United States of America that I love and believe in. Instead they are those of politicians lacking a moral compass which all Americans of conscience, liberal and conservative, should be ashamed of."
Difficult to Watch, Important Polemical Documentary Critical
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 06/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen "Taxi to the Dark Side" nearly three weeks ago at a private screening in midtown Manhattan, my mind is still reeling from the harsh, brutal images of torture committed by United States soldiers against suspected terrorists and irregulars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This may be the most important documentary film on the "War on Terror", and while it is a liberal polemic film, it does an effective job of arguing its case by showing its graphic images, instead of having someone like filmmaker Michael Moore seen onscreen ranting and raving. The central saga which runs through the nearly two-hour long film is the last taxi ride of a young Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar, an innocent bystander who was picked up by American troops, tortured, and died from his severe injuries at the American detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan.

"Taxi to the Dark Side" deserves the ample recognition it has earned, and may be remembered as a superb documentary film in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow's "Harvest of Shame". But it isn't perfect for the following reasons. First it accepts as gospel truth, the fact that most of those being held by American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba are as innocent as Dilawar was. Second it lacks more insightful analysis from the likes of noted military defense attorney Eugene Fidell, who represented my cousin, former U. S. Army chaplain James Yee (Much to my amazement, Yee's filmed testimony was not included at all in the final cut of this film.). Will "Taxi to the Dark Side" change the opinions of many? Hopefully it will force those who've seen it to ask serious, probing questions about inhumane treatment of prisoners by some American soldiers, and perhaps persuade them to convince the Federal political leadership in Washington, D. C. to act more aggressively to avert similar instances of prisoner mistreatment in the future."
Leaning In the Right Direction
J. Battocletti | St. Louis, MO USA | 09/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I rather enjoy this style of documentary.
In my experience documentaries have two faces;
an opinionated narrator with an obvious agenda who either alienates you or pushes you into their mindset, or
an educational narrator who may lean in one direction yet is more concerned with understanding and empathy.

This documentary educates the viewer on the various forms of "interrogation" we have developed over the years in a precise and methodical manner. The underlying story of a young taxi driver serves as a link. A link to a living, breathing individual who faced these techniques and died after only two days of interrogation. This film brought 4 concepts together for me - Interrogation becomes Torture which fuels Terrorism and becomes War -

And here is how:
American forces capture and interrogate people suspected of being a threat to national security, 9% of which are brought into interrogation by U.S. forces. These interrogators are indirectly pressured to find information so their company/troop will appear to be getting results. The detainees are held for months or more and undergo forms of interrogation that can only be described as humiliating, demeaning, disgusting... torture. When the detainees are eventually released their experience of America is one of disgust, and in a predominantly deeply religious country, unholy. This act produces hatred which in turn fuels terrorism which fuels war. I may not know a better way of handling the situation, but I know this method is a step in the wrong direction and the director illustrates that beautifully. Buy this movie, it brings out your empathetic side and forces you to think about what our country is doing in our name."