The Prisoner or: How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair (2006) PG-13 72min
October 4th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 4,099 Views
This is a documentary about Yunnis Abbas, Iraqi journalist and reporter, who was once tortured by Uday Hussein for writing an article about the embargo. 5 years later as he was returning from a dance party he was arrested by American troops for allegedly planning the assassination of British Prime-minister Tony Blair with a home-made bomb. The intelligence pin-pointed his house as the home of the “Blair Cell” because he made a report together with BBC and a Spanish channel and because he traveled to Fallujah (also to make a report). After several months in interrogation he was put in Abu Ghraib prison, where he found out the true meaning of liberation.
The documentary is shot in a style reminiscent of a hour-long 60 Minutes report. There are great inserts in the movie made to look like comic strip: a very vivid imagery that evokes strong emotions because of the way they are drawn and because characters in comic books only use a few colors – they are in high contrast.
The movie is a long interview with Yunnis, who tells about his youth, being happy with his big family, showing home videos, loving his profession. Then the war has began, and he talks about his feelings as the city that existed for 1,600 years was being reduced to ruble. “When there is a war, you need to do something”, Yunnis says. So he picks up his camera and travels all over Iraq to report, often with crews from other countries. Then overnight his life is changed even more dramatically when faulty intelligence identifies his house and his family as a group that prepares assassination of Tony Blair when he is supposed to arrive to Iraq for a short visit. Several months of interrogations followed, including months in Abu Ghraib prison. Yunnis describes living conditions in there, the interrogations of himself and his brothers. The story would be one-sided and lack credibility if it wasn’t for his story fully supported by an American soldier who worked as a guard in Abu Ghraib and who became friendly with Yunnis and his brothers, knew of their innocence and felt ashamed for the conduct of U.S. intelligence agents and Army officials. The movie postulates that 99% of 4,000 inmates were totally innocent and were just at the wrong place at the wrong time, while the Army spokesman stated multiple times that there are no innocent people in Abu Ghraib – if they are there they must have done something wrong.
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