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The Prisoner, or How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair

19 May

The Prisoner or: How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair. Documentary. An Iraqi journalist is wrongfully detained and violently tortured at Abu Ghraib. 72 minutes Color 2006.

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This is clearly a story with an important and stirring tale to tell, and its protagonist is natural, masculine, and appealing. His unforced presentation of himself and his predicament is winning. However, when he is on-camera, the volume of sound is too soft to hear what he says, and when he is off-camera, the volume of sound is too loud to hear what he says. I was obliged to hold the volume control in my hand and louden and soften it every few seconds, and I was willing to do this. However that was not the defining problem for me. The real problem is that the presentation of the material is violent and belligerent in style; it was so jarring that I could not go on watching. I do not mean that the content was too violent; I mean the direction and editing and music were too violent. I was blinded, deafened, and violated. I felt the filmmakers wanted to punish the viewer to approximate the punishment the protagonist underwent. It was a miscalculation. So the technical smarty-pants have, as far as I am concerned, done a great and rude disservice to this worthy subject. I see by other reviews that I am not the only one who found this difficulty insuperable. See it if you can. Read the favorable reviews instead. I wish this could be one of them, but I was not able to finish the film to the end.

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