Errol Morris unveils his new Abu Ghraib documentary, “Standard Operating Procedure,” next week, and as Frank Rich and many others have pointed out, the box office prospects aren’t great in an environment where the public seems to be shunning all things Iraq.
My colleague, Anne Thompson, interviewed Morris last week in Santa Monica, and called Morris “nothing if not charming.”
Morris uses reenactments in certain parts of his film — including an exploding helicopter from “Charlie’s Angels” outtakes that he uses in a dream sequence. Thompson calls such images “slo-mo poetry.”
What stands out, however, are the now infamous images of the detainees and their prison guards.
Thompson writes, “Mostly though, he shows the photos–the ones that got these “bad apples”-turned-scapegoats into so much trouble. Lynndie England, the diminutive 20-year-old private who held a crawling detainee by a tie-down strap, is surprisingly articulate, now, about what happened. (She has a baby, too.) “People said I dragged him, but I never did,” she says in the film. “I’m a 95-pound woman, I’m dominating him. He [she’s referring to her then 34-year-old boyfriend and photographer, private Charles Graner] wouldn’t have had me standing there if the camera wasn’t there.” She was the last person Morris interviewed. He had to wait for her to get out of prison. “I liked her,” he says.
“”When you join the military it’s a man’s world,” she tells him in the film. “You have to be equal to a man or be controlled by a man. You’re going to have to be strong to step up to them. I was blinded by being in love with a man.””