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With Jim Sabatini


SOP: Standard Operating Procedure

SOP: Standard Operating Procedure

Rated: R for disturbing images and content involving torture and graphic nudity, and for language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 16, 2008 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Probing documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War) brings a darkly humanistic approach to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

In SOP: Standard Operating Procedure, he gets into truth behind leaked photos through Brent Pack's painstaking look into the viciousness and humiliation, all in the name of the War on Terror.

Morris has a knack for letting his talking heads expose themselves with casualness that reflects an attitude, especially for the powers that be. It's a candid counterpoint to the riveting, more politically-minded Taxi To The Dark Side. The presentation is quite nuanced and lucid for an unchanged situation seemingly adjusted systematically almost on a subconscious level.

It's awfully hard not to be shaken and deeply saddened by the images and their implications on so many levels, emotionally and physically, as commentary of prison guards goes to show they're just a cog in something as unthinkable as what they're determined to eradicate.

The story is thoroughly cobbled together with precision underlining that "things change when you're in war". With prevarications and bureaucracy boldly in control there's nothing to say that fear can't be best realized in the most sadistic ways to keep even organizations like the Red Cross immune from the empowered perilous perpetrators.

  Frank Chris Jim Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
SOP: Standard Operating Procedure        B+               B+ 

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