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Taxi To The Dark Side
featuring: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the CIA, Guantanamo guards, etc

director: Alex Gibney

96 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
The biggest shock that meets a viewer watching Taxi To The Dark Side is when they realise that it won an Oscar, a few Gold Hugos and a plethora of other awards in the American film industry. The shock comes from the fact that this documentary is scathingly unapologetic in its views on the Bush administration and its brutal approach to the so-called 'war on terror.' You know the war? The one started by a bunch of Saudi's who flew planes into the World Trade Centre's twin towers: the war where Bush decides to attack Afghanistan and Iraq in response to the genocide committed by Saudi terrorists.

It would seem that Alex Gibney is of the same mindset as Michael Moore when it comes to the USA's leadership. And like his directorial compatriot he does like his documentaries to focus on his side of the story. But, that's no reason for him to apologise for hammering home his point in this superb documentary. Taxi To The Dark Side features interviews with politicians, soldiers and activists, and centres on the story of an innocent Afghani taxi driver (Dilawar) who was brutally tortured by his American captors at Bagram as they mistook him for a hardened terrorist. His injuries were described as 'horrific' and had he survived the torture they would have had to amputate his legs, allegedly.

From here, Gibney takes us on a damning tour of the American policy, and dare I say reliance, on torture as a means of combating the fanatical terrorists hell-bent on destroying the world's greatest democracy. There are disturbing scenes afoot here, particularly the unedited pictures from a middle-eastern jail showing some worrying practices for a country signed-up to the Geneva convention. Of course, there is also the argument of just-cause, in that war is dirty and in all wars there are casualties. Gibney plays the card of Dilawar well here, is what happened to him justified he asks covertly and overtly throughout.

At times, Taxi To The Dark Side can be difficult to watch - but is important to see. There is a balance needed, which in the documentary itself is somewhat lacking, but then Gibney may argue that he is the balance against Fox and the other American media institutions that claim impartiality but are as much in the bosom of the administration as most of the senate. This is an excellent documentary and will not disappoint; only the most blinded supporters of the war on terror could justify the hard evidence on show here and credit to Gibney for bringing yet more policy driven atrocities to our attention.
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