Standard Operating Procedure

Director: Errol Morris
Year: 2008
Country: USA
Running time: 117 mins
Screenplay: Errol Morris
Photography: Robert Chappell, Robert Richardson
Editors: Andy Grieve, Steven Hathaway, Dan Mooney
Music: Danny Elfman
RP16 content may disturb

With: Javal Davis, Lynndie England, Megan Ambuhl Graner, Sabrina Harman, Janis Karpinski, Brent Pack

Festivals: Berlin, Tribeca 2008

Documentary auteur Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) has spent two years researching events surrounding the notorious photographs from Abu Ghraib, vile digital mementos of American soldiers humiliating prisoners that seem likely to stink up the world for generations to come. While the exemplary Taxi to the Dark Side takes a specific incident as the basis for a wider investigation of the "War on Terror", Morris zeroes in on detail. There are long, intimate interviews with most of the perpetrators, and though Morris never exonerates them, he makes it clear that they have been scapegoated.  Ever the epistemologist, his ultimate concern is with what the images mean. What were these people intending when they took these photos, or when they gave the camera the thumbs up? Who was supposed to see them? How much do they tell the rest of us about what was actually going on in Abu Ghraib? And how much don't they? — BG