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Shock and aargh

PUBLISHED: 13:13 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

SCENES depicted in an infamous set of photographs cataloguing the abuse and brutal torture of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad are re-enacted to devastating effect in Errol Morris s visually inventive d

Standard Operating Procedure

Cert 15

SCENES depicted in an infamous set of photographs cataloguing the abuse and brutal torture of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad are re-enacted to devastating effect in Errol Morris's visually inventive documentary.

The world looked on in shock and horror when a series of photographs taken by American military personnel were circulated around the media several years ago. They showed images of Iraqi prisoners being beaten, electrocuted and humiliated while US servicemen and women posed next to them for the camera. In Standard Operating Procedure, interviews with five of the seven military police officers who were indicted for their actions are run alongside vivid re-enactments of the photographs themselves. The juxtaposition is a startling one and makes for distinctly uncomfortable viewing.

Morris attempts to unravel the goings-on not captured by the camera and asks several unsettling questions about how the story was shaped by the media, the US government and about the reliability of photographic evidence to accurately explain events and actions.

The director also focuses his attention on the nature of guilt as defined by the justice system, paying particular attention to the fact the only crimes prosecuted were those seen in the photographs leaked to the media.

Pleasant viewing it may not be but, by exploring the more universal themes of government transparency and the innate problems with photographic evidence, Morris has produced a striking piece of work that raises questions that stretch far beyond the events that lie at its core.

Standard Operating Procedure opens in cinemas tomorrow.

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