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My Trip to Al-Qaeda (2011)

Lawrence Wright , Alex Gibney  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lawrence Wright
  • Directors: Alex Gibney
  • Format: Color, Extra tracks, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00883OY9E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,567 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


"...offers what may be the definitive cinematic investigation of the cultural and historical roots of 9/11." --The New York Times

"My Trip to Al-Qaeda is, in effect, a crash course in the history of modern Islamic terrorism." --Vanity Fair

Product Description

Product Description

In 2006, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright staged My Trip to al-Qaeda, a one-man performance that explored the moral dilemmas he encountered while researching his best-selling book, The Looming Tower: al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Culled from more than 600 interviews and 4,100 pages of notes, the play integrated his journalistic insights with personal stories, live footage, and photos of the places he visited during his extensive research. In MY TRIP TO AL-QAEDA, Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney brings Wright's performance to the big screen and chronicles his quest to understand the history and the modern incarnation of radical Islamic terrorism.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
To be completely honest, I had very little interest in seeing another documentary film profiling Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, or even the events of 9/11. After ten years of watching every related news profile and non-narrative (and fictional) movie on these topics, I'm on complete information overload. What's left to say? I mention this in preface to my comments about Alex Gibney's "My Trip to Al-Qaeda" because the experience really took me by surprise. I found this film to be so smart, so insightful, so unusual, and absolutely riveting. I'm not prone to unnecessary hyperbole (like Best Movie Ever!), but I think this is nearly essential in understanding the history, culture and psychology that led to that fateful day. But it doesn't stop there, it offers further commentary about the aftermath of the event and critically examines actions in the war on terror that might have been a part of a master plan. And whether or not you take these conclusions as gospel, it certainly presents an interesting case and much to think about.

The principle subject, and indeed the guiding force, behind "My Trip to Al-Qaeda" is Lawrence Wright. Wright is a journalist who has spent much time working in the Middle East, co-wrote the screenplay to "The Siege" (a 1998 film about terrorism on American soil), penned the bestseller "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" and staged a one-man multimedia theater event that is the basis for this movie. In fact, much of the presentation focuses on Wright as he performs (or you might say narrates) before a live audience. Sounds simple and scaled back, and it is. But it is also thoroughly compelling and thought provoking. The movie also uses archival news footage, outside interviews, and portions of Wright on location.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary, but a bit of a stretch. September 20, 2012
By Wes
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Overall, this is a decent documentary that sheds light on how Al Qaeda formulated. Like one other reviewer said, Lawrence Wright's monologues seem a bit forced an unnatural. The biggest criticism I have is that Wright more or less asserts that bin Laden turned on the United States because his pride was hurt when we turned down his offer to help with the invasion of Desert Storm. Maybe Wright didn't mean to state this as the only reason, but he focused on it like it was a main reason.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Background October 14, 2010
One of my students (I teach a violence and terrorism course at one of the CSU campuses) taped this from HBO for me. It is magnificent and this should receive an award. If you wonder why we have terrorism today, this tells a significant part of the story. Wright outlines how Egypt, our ally, a dictatorship, but our dictatorship, managed to turn Islamists into Jihadists. Thanks, President Carter. You managed to create Sunnis that are now willing to kill us and then in Iran, Shias willing to kill us. This should be mandatory viewing for everyone. I will buy it as soon as it is available. Very well done. TC
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5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding September 2, 2013
We all have some idea of what we know (or think we know) of Al Quaeda, radical Muslims and the Taliban. But what we've learned has mostly been filtered through our news media and/or our government. This movie(?), adapted and tweeked from a stage play gives a more holistic view of our current situation in the mid-east.

Here's the scoop. Lawrence Wright, who wrote and narrates this piece, is a reporter and has written a couple of screen plays. He takes the viewer through the history of mid-eastern terrorism and gets us to see things through their eyes. He's not a sympathizer per se. He has no love for them and feels they enjoy being victims. It fuels their hate. But he gets us to see the sense (as screwed up as that might be) in their thought process.

In one observation he notes that when we invaded Kuwait, we put female soldiers on the ground. So here we have these Muslims, who treat women like ashtrays, not only seeing Christians furthering the Crusades, but we're doing it with women. This is just too much for them to bare. He notes other similar examples. But he also points the finger back at us in that we bought into it. Certain actions we took, violence, torture, etc., turned some mid-eastern men into terrorists, and turned us into paranoids. We are no longer the country we hoped to be. We spy on our own citizens and perform torture on our enemies. We make them stronger in their resolve.

This is a heck of an outing. I feel as though I learned more watching this, and got a greater understanding of things, than in much of what I've seen since 911. I cannot stress strongly enough that every American watch this. We may have crossed the Rubicon and have entered into something from which there is no return. I hope not, but that hope is dwindling.
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