The Road to Guantánamo (image 1)

A scathing critique of military power that brilliantly merges documentary with thrilling dramatization.

Aaron Hillis, Premiere

Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

The Road to Guantánamo 2006

Directed by Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross

True story of the British Muslim boys who went to Pakistan for a wedding in September 2001 and ended up as tortured prisoners of the US Army. “Ferocious, partisan, and moving.” — The Guardian

UK In Arabic and English with English subtitles
95 minutes 35mm

Photography

Marcel Zyskind

Production designer

Mark Digby

Special effects

Mohsen Roozbehani

Sound

Stuart Wilson

Music

Molly Nyman
,
Harry Escott

With

Rizwan Ahmed
,
Farhad Harun
,
Waqar Siddiqui
,
Arfan Usman
,
Ruhel Ahmed
,
Asif Iqbal
,
Shafiq Rasul

Festivals

Berlin 2006

Awards

Silver Bear (Best Director), Berlin 2006

Elsewhere

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