Son of Shaft (2019)

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Son of Shaft: Directed by Tim Story. With Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall. JJ Shaft, a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death.

“Taxi to the Dark Side accomplishes what a documentary, or just a concise analysis, regarding all of the facts in one of the many nightmares the United Statesu0026#39; involvement in the middle east should: to inspire the utmost disgust and condemnation of a system that has become as corrupt as it has (or rather always has been with this bunch). Itu0026#39;s uncontainable to think how all of this started, grew exponentially, and resulted ultimately in the horrors at Abu Gharyb and Guantanamo Bay, in that it is nestled in the twisted, criminal (yes folks, criminal) u0026#39;policiesu0026#39; of the Bush administration. But Alex Gibneyu0026#39;s approach isnu0026#39;t narrow-minded but multi-faceted: heu0026#39;s interested in what a complex, ugly organism torture has become, the psychological just as much as the physical, and he has a man at the center of it. Dilawar, an innocent taxi driver from a poor farm in Afghanistan, was swept up by three other Afghan soldiers and sent to Bagram prison, where along with other supposed terrorists or terrorist collaborators was tortured (in his case especially in brutal fashion, as we learn in graphic description from those who participated first-hand), and died from the trauma.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHis death was a controversy, but not one that ever got the kind of attention it deserved; until this documentary I never even heard of Dilawar or even much about Bagram prison. Yet it was at this prison, as well as the first biggie interrogation of the would-be 20th hijacker of the plane on 9/11 to crash in Pennsylvania (which, by false confession, led to an over-excited but false-rooted assumption that Al Quaeda had links to Baghdad), that led to Abu Gharyb, which revealed the horrors of soldiers in unyielding terror over their subjects but, more importantly, the virus that spread through the chain of command. Gibneyu0026#39;s approach is approximate and expertly probing: itu0026#39;s not enough to just focus of Dilawar (even as his story could make up a whole legitimate documentary alone), or on Abu Gharyb. As in his previous film, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, itu0026#39;s essential to dissect this wretched beast from top to bottom, to see not simply the soldiers first-hand accounts, but straight from the horseu0026#39;s mouth the words from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Bush himself.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBecause, in reality, there is something to feel sorry for with these soldiers. It can be argued, and not without just cause, that what the soldiers did at Bagram, Abu Gharyb, and to an extent even at GITMO, was wrong and rotten and they could have said no and so on and so forth. However, as with the ground war situation in Iraq, itu0026#39;s all about the chain of command, and the fact that no matter what the parties initially responsible are not held accountable for any of their actions. Itu0026#39;s almost frightening to forget the amount of footage available with these men like Rumsfeld and Gonzalez and Cheney where they not only admit to being fine with torture tactics – and whether or not itu0026#39;s psychological torture or not is besides the point as ALL torture IS torture, albeit a facet that Gibney brilliantly chronicles in the history of the CIA to its u0026#39;logicalu0026#39; extension in recent years – but set it up in legal wrangling so as to not get it any trouble for what theyu0026#39;ve done which is, of course, breaking Geneva conventions and whatnot.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIf I sound like Iu0026#39;m sounding bias with this, then you should leave this review right now. There is no bias when it comes to this issue (or rather there SHOULD be no bias, as for a split second McCain showed until he relented recently that torture isnu0026#39;t as bad as he used to think). What one sees as the line between what is proper interrogation of a subject and outright abuse to get that u0026quot;ticking time-bombu0026quot; is revealed by Kloogman from the FBI, who paraphrases how an interrogation would usually be done and lays it on the line that this form has actually had results – not pain and death or, at best, a bull**** court at GITMO where itu0026#39;s like a joke Kafka wouldnu0026#39;t write. Gibney presents all the information with the bluntness thatu0026#39;s required, with testimony, footage from press conferences and commissions (i.e. that cringe-inducing bit with Gonzalez where he has a horrible pause when trying to answer a simple question about whether or not to condone torture), and itu0026#39;s presented lucidly, edited for a cumulative effect and with the skill of a filmmaker in total trust with his subject(s) to take all of the pieces into a whole that shakes one to the core.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAnd all of this would be powerful enough to make an impact, but with the recent explosion of news coverage on water-boarding – and that the CIA has admitted to torturing three subjects – Taxi to the Dark Side remains startlingly relevant. In fact, itu0026#39;s even more tragically relevant than last yearu0026#39;s Sicko or even No End in Sight. From the tragedy of Dilawar to the tragedy of Abu Gharyb, which was like Salo turned into as shockingly real as could never be imaginable, the Bush administration has put the US into even more danger than ever before by resorting to the lowest form of humanity, condoning acts to the soldiers that sixty years ago would never be committed in the harshest of circumstances on our side. This, again, isnu0026#39;t some silly bias, this is just fact. Itu0026#39;s enough to make one sick to oneu0026#39;s stomach, and as long as a film such as this exists, the pain canu0026#39;t be brushed aside or dulled by diverting network news.”


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