Friday, March 19, 2010

The Oath at New Directors/New Films 2010

Fresh on the heels of the Academy Award-nominated “My Country, My Country” (New Directors/New Films 2006), “The Oath” is the second film in director Laura Poitras's trilogy examining America and the repercussions of its policies after 9/11, and yet already it feels dated. Poitras spent two years filming in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay in order to tell the parallel stories of Salim Hamdan—of "Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld," Osama bin Laden's onetime driver who the Supreme Court sided with in that landmark case—and the brother-in-law who recruited him into Al Qaeda, Abu Jandal, bin Laden's former bodyguard. While family man Hamdan, a low-priority target sitting in solitary confinement, is seen and heard only through grainy video images and prison letters, charismatic psychopath Jandal shuttles between prayers with his young son, the Yemeni streets in his taxicab, and meetings with jihadi wannabes.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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