Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Camp X Ray: DVD Review

Camp X Ray: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Madman Home Ent

Guantanamo Bay, Kristen Stewart and the issue of detainees make for dramatic bedfellows in this release.

Stewart plays Amy Coles a soldier, newly assigned to the Bay, its routines and its human rights ignorances. Expecting to have been in Iraq, Coles finds the Cuban set base a bit of a shock initially, but adjusts to life behind bars for the inmates and herself. But gradually, she forms a friendship with a detainee, known only as 471 (Peyman Moaadi) which gets harder as her time in Gitmo goes on.

Camp X Ray is a nicely underplayed study of the military and of a place surrounded in controversy.

Stewart makes a great fist of Coles, a soldier who ironically becomes a detainee of the military, its protocol and its hypocrises as time progresses. This is a Stewart that provides so much by offering so little on the screen as the hypnotic repetitive routine plays out before our eyes. But equally, Moaadi brings a humanity to the detainee issue as 471, a man whose imprisonment is degrading him physically and mentally day by day. Particularly a final sequence which is as tense as you'd expect when Coles is due to ship out.

Writer / director Peter Sattler dips his toes into melodrama initially before wisely pulling back and reins in the cliches of a woman on base (before disappointingly going there) and realising the power of the film lies within the relationship between the two either side of a door.

While the politics of Gitmo are touched on briefly, Camp X Ray is more about two central performances than any showy message being dispatched. And for that reason, it's a compelling psychological piece that examines life in prison - both for those behind bars and those policing it.


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