Camp X-RayDirector: Peter Sattler
USA | English
Eight years after 9/11, Amy Cole, a young Army private looking to escape her small-town life, arrives at Guantanamo Bay for her first deployment. The monotony of the base routine sets in: The job of Cole and her fellow guards, her corporal says, is merely to keep the detainees alive.
Ali (or, 471) is one such detainee, merely kept alive for who knows how many years, for who knows what purpose, in his tiny cell. Sattler doesn’t dwell on the crimes committed by those on either side of the cell door, but rather teases out a nuanced human drama between Cole and Ali, the captor and captive who begin to understand and empathize with one another. From the riveting opening sequence to the long, staid, eerily beautiful takes of guards walking from cell to cell on suicide-watch duty, the film puts us squarely in the minds of those at the camp: It feels like a prison for the soldiers as much as the detainees.
Kristen Stewart (famous for the Twilight movies) reminds us of her incredible gift for understated dramatic performances as the mega movie star disappears into her role, and it’s thrilling to watch the brilliant Peyman Moaadi (of Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly and Oscar-winning A Separation) move from blustery and crazy-eyed to pensive and vulnerable, often all in one scene.