Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
The true story of four British Muslim boys who went to Pakistan for a wedding in September 2001 and ended up as tortured prisoners of the US Army is re-enacted as a modern horror story in Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’ electrifying exposé.
“Ferocious, partisan, and moving... The filmmakers’ rage at what happened to their protagonists is palpable, while they are also alert to the absurdity and gallows humour of it all… [They] tell the story using reconstructions with actors, newsreel footage and interviews. At the outset, we hear President Bush solemnly telling the world that the Guantánamo prisoners are ‘bad guys’. Once we meet Ruhel, Asif, Shafiq and Monir, the irony becomes evident. The young Brits Bush seems to regard as the embodiment of evil are ordinary lads, neither especially political nor devoutly religious… The filmmakers don’t skimp on showing the sadism and stupidity of the US and British soldiers. The guards behave with the same cruelty you expect to see from SS officers in lurid second world war movies. It takes a moment or two to realise that these events are based on the testimony of the ‘Tipton Three’, not dreamed up by a screenwriter… The Road to Guantánamo is far more than just agit?prop. In amid the brutality, there is humour and lyricism. This is as much an account of youngsters on ‘a holiday in hell’ as a rant against the obscenity of Guantánamo.” — Geoffrey McNab, The Guardian
“Hair-raising… a warts-and-all reconstruction of a terrifying ordeal... The cartoon horror of being wrongly accused, and then tortured by American soldiers for two and a half years is worthy of our fury.” — James Christopher, The Times