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Taxi To the Dark Side (2007)

Alex Gibney , Brian Keith Allen , Alex Gibney  |  R |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring, Willie Brand
  • Directors: Alex Gibney
  • Writers: Alex Gibney
  • Producers: Alex Gibney, Blair Foster, Don Edkins, Don Glascoff, Eva Orner
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, 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: Velocity / Thinkfilm
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BEK8FQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,653 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Taxi To the Dark Side" on IMDb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Having seen "Taxi to the Dark Side" nearly three weeks ago at a private screening in midtown Manhattan, my mind is still reeling from the harsh, brutal images of torture committed by United States soldiers against suspected terrorists and irregulars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This may be the most important documentary film on the "War on Terror", and while it is a liberal polemic film, it does an effective job of arguing its case by showing its graphic images, instead of having someone like filmmaker Michael Moore seen onscreen ranting and raving. The central saga which runs through the nearly two-hour long film is the last taxi ride of a young Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar, an innocent bystander who was picked up by American troops, tortured, and died from his severe injuries at the American detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan.

"Taxi to the Dark Side" deserves the ample recognition it has earned, and may be remembered as a superb documentary film in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow's "Harvest of Shame". But it isn't perfect for the following reasons. First it accepts as gospel truth, the fact that most of those being held by American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba are as innocent as Dilawar was. Second it lacks more insightful analysis from the likes of noted military defense attorney Eugene Fidell, who represented my cousin, former U. S. Army chaplain James Yee (Much to my amazement, Yee's filmed testimony was not included at all in the final cut of this film.). Will "Taxi to the Dark Side" change the opinions of many? Hopefully it will force those who've seen it to ask serious, probing questions about inhumane treatment of prisoners by some American soldiers, and perhaps persuade them to convince the Federal political leadership in Washington, D. C. to act more aggressively to avert similar instances of prisoner mistreatment in the future.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
With this extraordinary film director Alex Gibney makes a convincing and well researched case against the acts of torture, abuse and humiliation committed by the U.S. military against political prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

A major sub-plot is the story of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver who ended up dying from injuries suffered while he was held in Bagram, a former Soviet prison coverted into a U.S. detention center for suspected terroists. However, the film explains how Dilawar was actually an innocent man turned in by an actual terroist seeking to throw investigators off his trail. One expert explains how only about 1% of the detainees are actual terroists and that the vast majority were not even arrested by the U.S. military. But rather were turned in by Pakastani and Afghani bounty hunters seeking financial compensation.

The numerous forms of abuse inflicted on these foreign detainees is depicted in gruesome detail. The methods of torture included not only water boarding but various means of sexual humiliation such as having women's panties placed on their heads, forced masturbation and female military officers caressing them while whispering "your mother is a whore" into their ears. The ultimate goal was inflicting a complete mental, physical and emotional breakdown on the prisoners. Other tactics used were sleep depravation achieved by handcuffing detainees to the ceiling for days at a time and the sort of brutal physical assaults that led to the death of the innocent Dilawar.

Of course, it was the low ranking soldiers who ended up facing punishment when these acts of illegal abuse were discovered. But the film makes it very clear that they were simply following orders handed down from the highest levels of the Bush administration.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the horror September 29, 2008
By 2 cents
"Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Well that quote came to mind as I watched this depressing 2007 Academy Award Winner directed by Alex Gibney (ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM -also excellent). This time Gibney explores America's journey into darkness that is the so-called "war on terror" (BTW people, when you hear the words "war on" before anything you can bet it is a total disaster.). I was reminded of Nietzsche's warning and then of other lines from that great source of dark and enigmatic quotations..."Man is the cruelest animal." "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." But back to the first quote, I think the men that got us into this situation already were nihilistic, souless beasts and so hardly did much changing. What we should realize is that *they changed America.* I am well aware of America's "mistakes" and sins of the past but things are different now... and many of us feel it. On top of that -and more importantly- sadly many, all too many, of the people they chased after weren't monsters at all, but just people. Regular people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Take the story of "a young rural Afghan cabdriver", named Dilawar. Turned out he was falsely accused of helping to plan an attack on American troops. Dilawar was tortured for about two days and died. He is presented here as "the first fatal victim of Vice President Dick Cheney's devotion to 'working the dark side'--torturing, humiliating, and otherwise abusing prisoners in the 'Global War on Terror.'" We are told his story by the very soldiers that killed Dilwar, themselves shown to both tools and victims of the implementation of the Bush policy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling case for recognizing U.S. use of torture
Neurobiological research shows how extensively humans learn from what we see with our eyes and what can be learned from this film meshes with substantial, well designed empirical... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Thomas E. Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted!
This documentary is powerful and shocking so I don't recommend this DVD for those easily squeamish. This is definitely not for children's viewing as the pictures are x rated... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sylviastel
4.0 out of 5 stars Dar but truthful!
Very truthful and empathetic expose on the horrors of the Bush/Cheney wars, and the youth that took the blame for their own behavior as well as that of their leaders.
Published 10 months ago by Michael B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking!
If you follow the news and are intrigued with the war on terrorism in the Middle East then I suggest you check this movie out. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Globetrotter
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oscar Award Winning documentary on the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan
No wonder this film won the Oscar for Best Documentary film in 2007. It starts with the arrest by US troops of an innocent young Afghan male taxi driver for being a suspected... Read more
Published 13 months ago by K. Edyvane
5.0 out of 5 stars Taxi to the Dark Side
I learned so much more from this than I did listening to the news these past many years, I am embarrassed for my fellow military members who contributed. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Michelle Cork
5.0 out of 5 stars The Abhorrent Side of America - The Dark Side but No Longer Hidden
"Taxi to the Dark Side" supplements info found in the books "The Black Banners," "Ghost Plane," and "The Dark Side," all books that describe the descent of America from a country... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Joe V.
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable Ride
Taxi is the movie I didn't "want" to watch but figured I should. It made me uncomfortable, sad and often a word, powerful. Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by NoPushover
1.0 out of 5 stars A partisan effort to smear Bush officials by juxtaposing clips about...
Gibney is a talented documentarian and there is much valuable detail here about the egregious, evil, clearly illegal behavior by prison guards of POW's at Baghram and Abu Ghraib. Read more
Published on August 24, 2010 by miss prism
5.0 out of 5 stars Have your grunts do your dirty work
quote from film, Cheney(working the "dark side") quote:
alot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion... Read more
Published on March 8, 2010 by avid mac user
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Is worshiping a torture implement - the Christian cross- desensitizes ?
Right from the start you are off base in your thought process. Christians do not worship the cross at all, they worship Jesus and God. The cross is simply a reminder of what was done so that eternal life could be granted to all who believe and follow Jesus. He is the focus of the church and the... Read More
Oct 27, 2009 by Poe Boy |  See all 3 posts
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