Standard Operating ProcedureIt is rather remarkable that six years after the well publicized events at Abu Ghraib, Errol Morris’ film can still evoke genuine anger out of the viewer. Standard Operating Procedure is a visually striking film in which Morris incorporates beautiful re-enactments to recount what is considered a huge a black mark on the U.S. military. Fortunately these stylized moments never detract from the main story. The film not only highlights what the tortured prisoners’ endured but also the various levels of military personnel that were aware the events were occurring. The line between what is deemed a criminal act and what is considered standard operating procedure becomes increasingly blurred as the film progresses. The fascinating thing about Standard Operating Procedure is that it not only makes you mad that the events occurred, but you cannot help but feel sad for both the victims and several of the soldiers involved.
War HorseWar Horse is one of the films where I actually thought to myself “I wish I had went to the play instead.” Not that War Horse is a bad film, in fact I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, it is just that for all its technical feats the film’s story felt average at best. Those who know me well, know that I have never been a big fan of horse-centric films. However, in War Horse I found the horse to be the most interesting character. Playing like a series of vignettes linked by one special horse, Steven Spielberg’s film focuses on the friendship between Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey as their lives take different paths because of the war. The casting is great and the war scenes are well shot, but I found that I was not interested in any of the side stories when the horse was not on screen. Besides the two soldiers, from opposite sides, who orchestrate a ceasefire to help the horse, I found that I did not connect emotionally with any of the characters the way Spielberg intends us to. Again, I think the story would be far more interesting watching it unfold on stage rather than on the big screen. As it stands, War Horse is a technically strong film, but most of the characters are rather forgettable. On a final note, how did this film lose in the sound category at last weekend’s Academy Awards? The sound in this film was fantastic.