Last time I bumped into filmmaker Alex Gibney (director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), we were at a Sundance party and he was talking about his latest doc, which he was still finishing. I can’t wait to see it, and it looks like if I had attended this year’s Full Frame Film Festival, I might have. The documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, had a sneak preview screening at the North Carolina documentary festival over the weekend and A.J. Schnack was there to report back on his blog:
Gibney, who was Oscar nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, has not made the first documentary about Abu Ghraib (Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein’s The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair – which profiled the shocking case of one inmate – was recently in theatres), nor will it be the last (Errol Morris’ take on the scandal is likely to hit festivals this fall). But in sketching a compelling and ultimately infuriating look at the whole of the Abu Ghraib story and the larger story of the Bush administration’s decision that we needed to get “mean & dirty” after 9/11 and employ torture, I thought Gibney’s film was quite good. Gibney is clearly adept at this sort of political storytelling and even if – as was the case in the Enron film – much of the information exists in other news accounts, you do have that feeling that you are seeing much of it with fresh eyes. Additionally, Gibney’s films look great, and this is certainly no exception.
In the same post, A.J. gives some love to SXSW crowd-pleasers Helvetica and The Devil Came on Horseback.