Total Film - 06/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith touching talking heads from the real-life prisoners. They come across as ordinary lads who've had an extraordinary experience..."
New York Times - 06/30/2006
"[A] wrenching and dismaying account of cruelty and bureaucratic indifference, a graphic tour of a place many citizens of Western democracies would prefer not to think about."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/14/2006
"Codirector Michael Winterbottom whips up a lot of handheld sound and fury as he weaves in interviews with the three actual former prisoners..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 07/01/2006
"The film achieves an extraordinary sense of authenticity and immediacy..."
Box Office - 08/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "The immensely talented and versatile Winterbottom has taken a page from his 2003 film IN THIS WORLD, mixing political concerns, documentary-style filmmaking and an enveloping sense of place..."
The post-9/11 climate found the U.S. government resorting to many unorthodox methods to quash the perceived threat from further terrorist attacks. None was more controversial or more headline-grabbing than the detainment camp set up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which was constructed to imprison and interrogate Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives captured by U.S. soldiers. Prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (9 SONGS) turns his cameras on the camp with this true story of three innocent British 20-something Muslims who were captured and held at Guantanamo for two years. Winterbottom cleverly marries extensive interview footage with the three men--Asif Iqbal, Ruhel Ahmed, and Shafiq Rasifknown, collectively known as the Tipton Three--with nerve-jarring reconstructive footage of what happened to them.
After traveling to Pakistan for a wedding, the three men set out on an intrepid exploration of Afghanistan, only to find themselves captured by U.S. forces who mistook them for members of the Taliban/Al-Qaeda. The footage of the capture is intense and terrifying, with Winterbottom pulling some fearsome acting from his leads. But even that pales next to the reconstruction of their period in Guantanamo, where the men are stripped of their humanity and treated to brutal inquisition and torture methods, many of which seem untested and experimental in nature. Sometimes it's difficult to believe that one human being could treat another this way, until Winterbottom neatly intersperses more timely reminders from his interviews with the men themselves, adding further revelations to the shocking scenes the cast reenacts. Winterbottom mostly shoots on digital video throughout, and the gloomy, grainy texture of the film is perfectly used as a mirror of the personal hell these three men went through. Possibly Winterbottom's best film yet, THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO is must-see cinema that is likely to leave its audience shaking with rage and despair.
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