wed 19/06/2024

LFF 2014: Camp X-Ray | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2014: Camp X-Ray

LFF 2014: Camp X-Ray

Kristen Stewart swaps everlasting life for suicide watch, in a moving two-hander set inside Guantanamo Bay

You talking to me? Kristen Stewart and Peyman Moaadi find there's no-one else in 'Camp X-Ray'

What can another film about American malfeasance in its War on Terror add to our knowledge and disapproval? Camp X-Ray has too narrow a scope to offer much; yet it’s impossible not to be affected by its depiction of utter hopelessness for those illegally imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Written and directed by Peter Sattler, it stars Kristen Stewart as a female private, Amy Cole, posted to the base where soldiering takes on the role of prison guard. Peyman Moaadi is Ali, an innocent detained for eight years and with no end in sight, whose determination to connect, with anyone, will slowly erode the certitude of a woman who enlisted “to do something important.”

Moaadi, so good in 'A Separation', is again mesmerising

Tangentially the film offers a procedural of what is, effectively, a never-ending suicide watch; as such, it’s limited to stereotypes and by the problems of depicting a world far more physically restrictive and dehumanised than conventional prisons. Sattler’s decision to withhold personal histories and political context can be frustrating.

But his focus is the two-hander between the private and the prisoner, lent shade and intensity by two excellent performances. Stewart, in almost every scene, convinces as the strong-willed but inchoate Amy, with her own issues as a woman in a male-dominated world. Moaadi, so good in A Separation, is again mesmerising – traversing the anger, despair, melancholy and sweet eccentricity (Ali’s obsession with the Harry Potter books) of a man who knows he may never be free again.

His focus is the two- hander between the private and the prisoner, lent shade and intensity by two excellent performances


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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