Standard Operating Procedure

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Released 2008

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Movie Summary

Director:
Errol Morris
Released:
2008
Rating:
R
Standard Operating Procedure is a 2008 documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Errol Morris (A Brief History of Time, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, The Thin Blue Line). In the film, Morris attempts to uncover the truth behind those images that began flowing out of Abu Ghraib Prison in the spring of 2004 - photos showing detainees (some terrorists, others undoubtedly not) hooded and stripped, forced to assume painful and/or humiliating positions, often for hours on end, with American soldiers posing gleefully nearby, smiling and flashing thumbs-up signs for the camera - mainly by allowing those who were most closely involved with the scandal to tell the story in their own words (including Private First Class Lynndie England, who, whether fairly or unfairly, emerged as the one clearly identifiable "face" and household name from the scandal). Morris provides no voice-over narration to accompany the interviews, just re-enactments of the incidents done in a quasi-surrealistic style, using slow motion photography and artsy graphics.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Focus is really the heart of Morris' unsettling film, which strikes a remarkable balance between art and disturbance, between beauty and pain.

  • 70

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    A big, provocative and -- it goes without saying -- disturbing work, though what makes it most provocative is that its greatest ambitions are for its own visual style.

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Adds relatively little insight to the public understanding of wayward military behavior more incisively analyzed in "Taxi to the Dark Side."

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    Themes

    Military & War