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September Tapes (2005)

George Calil , Wali Razaqi , Christian Johnston  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: George Calil, Wali Razaqi, Sunil Sadarangani, Wali Zarif
  • Directors: Christian Johnston
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00068CUO0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,583 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

An incredible achievement, SEPTEMBER TAPES chronicles one man's attempt to find notorious terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Don Larsen is the man responsible for the filming; an intrepid documentarian, he was joined by a bounty hunter in his exhaustive search of the dangerous Afghan landscape. After a battle raged in the Southern hills, eight tapes were discovered containing Larsen's efforts. Detained by the U.S. government for a lengthy period, it was believed the tapes would never be seen by the public. Until now. The sensational footage sees Larsen confronted by the Taliban, make some thrilling headway into finding the terrorist leader, and attempts to provide salient comment on events the filmmaker experiences. The first film to be made in Afghanistan since the collapse of the Taliban, SEPTEMBER TAPES is guerilla filmmaking at its gutsy best.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Analyzing why others hate it December 20, 2005
This film is about three men who go to 'search' for Bin Laden. Some portion of the film is acting while other parts are real. it combines documentary with some hard to believe scenes and some bad monologue 'acting'. This is the central problem here. Although divided into 8 'tapes' the film is really set in three scenes. The first is the most realistic, shot in Kabul. The second, the lead up to the battle and its aftermath where the American character metamorphosis's into a combat soldier is problematic when you question its authenticity.

The last sequence is the most problematic with its 'Blair witch project' feel, toooo many night sequences! The parts that feel 'real' mix with the parts that are just too obviously staged. For one the RPG's being fired at them!

But why do many call this the 'worst film' or 'how not to shoot a film'? This a disservice, as is calling it the 'osama witch project'. The clear reasoning behind the deep seated hatred for the film is accusations that it is 'jingoistic' which is a pure fabrication given that the 'translator' spend the first third of the film explaining how we must 'understand the terrorist demands'.

Great footage of Afghanistan. Truly realistic scenes of dealing with problems in other countries. It is a highly recommended film. It is not as 'bad' as everyone claims. Most will get through 2/3 of the footage with the feeling it is real, only about 1/3 has serious problems. A truly brave and original concept.

Seth J. Frantzman
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will make you think September 27, 2005
When I watched this movie I didn't know that it wasn't real. The movie was so touching and to find out in the end that the thing that drove this man to go to Afghanistan was the death of his wife who was flying on one of the planes on September 11 was just touching. This man lost his world that day and although this movie wasn't real they showed something that many American probably wanted to do that day. He went out to find the man who killed his wife. He didn't just sit by and let this happen to him. He wanted to do something about it. I don't think that anyone should run over and do something like what this character did. This was a movie, but I am sure that many people who lost someone that day wanted to find Osama Bin Laden and ask him a few questions themselves. This is a War on Terrorism and we are all fighting it together. This movie just shows what the fight is like in Afghanistan and although it has been four years since 9-11, the search for Bin Laden is still on.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a movie for idiots. October 10, 2005
By M. Poe
Here's the thing; if you are browsing the reviews of September Tapes on Amazon, you already know that it is a fictional movie, and not a documentary, which ruins it. So it is too late for you to enjoy it, but not too late to pass it on to a friend. If you watch this movie under the impression that it is a real documentary made from the found tapes of these three, it is an incredible experience, until 75% of the way through, when you start to think, "Am I being had?"

A lot of the criticism of this movie in these reviews is pointless. For example, many call it "stupid" to take a film crew into Afghanistan. Who cares what you think? Whether or not the crew did something dangerous should be of no concern to a viewer. Repeat after me, "I am not the moviemaker's mother. (Repeat)."

A second stupid criticism is that the movie disgraces people who died on 9/11. Let me get this straight -- a fictional movie about the aftermath of 9/11 is offensive, but (I presume you would argue) our very own country basing an entire war, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and two thousand Americans, on phony-baloney associations between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein is patriotic? And for what, to show the world how serious we are about 9/11? You people need to go to school -- ask the teachers for an education in rational thinking, because your teachers thus far have failed you, and you are evidently not capable of educating yourselves.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Look Into War Torn Afghanistan February 7, 2005
Is it real or make-believe? Regardless this independent film offers a stunning, tension filled ride through the streets of war torn Afghanistan. Filmed in a documentary filmstyle with hints of bravado it will definitely hold your attention from beginning to end.

The film begins with a reporter Don Larson (George Calil) aboard a plane destined for Kabul. His goal is to capture video coverage of the Al-Qaeda operatives and to possibly get in on the bounty for Bin Laden. He is young, exuberant and bold in his pursuit of the men he believes to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks and he does not back down from questioning by Afghani supporters of the attacks. Larson places himself and his crew into all sorts of hairy predicaments fully aware that his life is at stake such as an arms deal gone wrong, an ambush by Afghani police and a shoot out with unknown assailants in the complex mountain areas bordering Pakistan. Acting as Larson's interpreter is Wali Razaqi, an American of Afghani descent and the often unseen camera man follows their every move. The footage is both chilling and authentic and the actors bravely insane.

Although the filming style of this movie is its draw I found the writing to be absolutely effective. The characters are allowed to be more than war mongers in pursuit of blood. The script allows for Calil to be the action hero as well as a very vulnerable and afraid man. Calil is excellent in this role and stepped out on a limb in order to play it. But it is the ending of this film that really hits home and ties the tangled web together with more than just tape.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
HUGE disappointment in a movie. The DVD plastic was remarkable, however.
Published 13 days ago by JPW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie
Published 1 month ago by JJK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Absolutely great movie saw it years ago and lost my copy it is a must have for me. This story could not have been captured better
Published 4 months ago by Dale whaley
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok show
Not to bad and was pretty good. Done in a different way than most other movies with camera. In all was good.
Published 17 months ago by Leo Paul Maillet
2.0 out of 5 stars bad acting and script
Although the movie is a fake documentary, the beginning 10 minutes resemble real life. Thereafter, bad acting and poorly written script are noticeable. Read more
Published on January 31, 2011 by Deepak Agarwal
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Darkness
Though this movie's visual design cribs The Blair Witch Project, the story comes from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Read more
Published on March 26, 2010 by Kevin L. Nenstiel
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely exciting; an edge of your seat experience.
This movie is extremely exciting. It's a very well-made faux documentary and deserves to be watched. If you're into adventure/documentaries, then this is the movie for you.
Published on August 9, 2009 by P.Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Edge of your seat? Try off of your seat.....scary stuff.
Intense action scenes that are so real you can smell the sulpher. Scary to think that a place like Afganistan really exists, and that good people try to maintain a family amist... Read more
Published on September 18, 2008 by John Gibble
2.0 out of 5 stars joke, weird, obscene, moving - weirdly all three
Initially I thought this was a joke. A Spinal Tap goes to war. Why? Because the hero and his sidekick, "Wali," seem so ridiculously inept. Over the top. Read more
Published on June 27, 2008 by Jonitin
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting - but not a very good movie
If you are an old vet like me and want to revisit Afghanistan then this is a good vessel for doing that. I loved the images of Kabul, the Afghan countryside, the kids, etc. Read more
Published on April 23, 2008 by Colonel Bullethead
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