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The Oath

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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(Sep 28, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the director of the Oscar-nominated My Country, My Country, The Oath is a spectacularly gripping documentary that unfolds like a great political thriller. It's the crosscut tale of two men whose fateful meeting propelled them on divergent courses with Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Abu Jandal is a taxi driver in Sana'a, Yemen; his brother-in-law Salim Hamdan is a Guantanamo prisoner and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Jandal and Hamdan's intertwined personal trajectories - how they became Bin Laden's bodyguard and driver respectively - act as prisms that serve to explore and contextualize a world that has confounded Western media. As Hamdan's trial progresses, his military lawyers challenge fundamental flaws in the court system. The charismatic Jandal dialogues with his young son, Muslim students and journalists, and chillingly unveils the complex evolution of his belief system post-9/11. Winner of Best Documentary Cinematography at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, The Oath offers a rare window into a hidden realm and into the international impact of the U.S. War on Terror.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
- New anamorphic transfer, created from new HD elements
- Additional footage and interviews
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Theatrical trailers

Review

The most revelatory and essential documentary of 2010! --David Edelstein, New York Magazine

An intimate character study (of a Yemeni cab driver who once worked as Osama bin Laden's bodyguard) and a wide-ranging critique of the American war on terror. --Dennis Lim, The New York Times

Just how deep inside Jandal's world Poitras goes is all the more striking given the inherent cultural barriers and danger she faced as a female filmmaker shooting a former Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen. --Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Salim Hamdan, Abu Jandal
  • Directors: Laura Poitras
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003PTP5H6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,417 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Oath" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"The Oath" (2010 release; 90 min.) is a documentary that was bound to create debate, if not controversy, upon its release in the US in 2010 (it premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival), right? Actually, this fell pretty much on deaf ears and it was only when recently browsing the documentary section of my local library that I fell upon this. How could I have never heard of this movie before?

"The Oath" follows two men, Abu Jandal, a taxi driver in Yemen, and his brother-in-law Salim Hamdan, a Guantanamo Bay prisoner who is the first to await trial. As we later learn, Jandal was the primary bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden during 1996-2000, and Hamdan was Bin Laden's driver. They became brothers-in-law when Bin Laden 'selected' two sisters to marry them. But there is one huge difference between the two: Jandalhas taken the Al Qaueda oath and Hamdan has not. The documentary takes its time in building up the intrecate facts surrounding these two men. At one point I was about to turn it off when I heard Jandal give again one of his views, this time on tolerance ("When you accept the other as he is, then you are in agreement with his infidelity and lowliness"), but I decided to stick it ou and I'm glad I did. I'm not going to tell you why, as it would ruin your viewing experience, although I will venture to say that you will be surprised how it all turns out. The last 30 min. are just riveting.

Back to why this documentary has fallen on deaf ears: it's my personal belief that the US audience at large was not then, and is still not, in the mood for this type of compex and complicated tale of two truths.
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Format: DVD
Not a dramatic re-enactment, but a skillfully done and even-handed documentary with interviews focusing on the trials and tribulations of Osama Bin Laden's personal driver and ex-bodyguard. The former is shown living in Yemen and working as a self-employed taxi driver after attending a government anti-jihadist re-education program,. The latter is depicted as detained on shaky legal grounds at Guantanamo and fighting for his release.

Very interesting and rarely seen street scenes of Yemen. Also includes extensive interviews with the protagonists and their family members, as well as with legal and religious officials. This film was completed before Bin Laden was killed, which gives the viewer a unique perspective for interpreting its significance.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Outstanding. Honest and we'll filmed from multiple vantage points.
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Very good and unique portrait of a complex man. I do wish there had been more explanation of his relevance into the larger situation surrounding the 9/11 attacks. For someone who doesn't know much of the context, I believe it would be a bit of a dull viewing experience.
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I have found this documentary very moving. This man was clearly closely allied with Osama Bin Laden at one point - enough so that the FBI travelled to Yemen to interrogate him in jail there after 9/11 attacks - and yet he is seen living freely in Sana'a, working as a self employed taxi driver in this film; and answering, fairly spontaneously, various challenging questions by the videographers and others, about his past and his current situation and outlook. The whole segment concerning his brother-in-law, held for years and ultimately tried and freed from Guantanamo, is very revealing about the complexity, and the potential for injustice in our "War on Terror". In the end, I would like to know that the main subject has an unencumbered means to support himself in his homeland. Heaven only knows what the impact of the present Saudi Arabian attacks on Yemen is for the lives we have seen in this film. But, this documentary has left me unable to be indifferent to them.
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Format: DVD
Watch & learn the truth; instead of BS "fear porn"!
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Pretty cool "inside" information video, frightening at times, quite intriguing, exciting, scary, and informative. Laura's more recent movie on Snowden was so good however, a lot better, an amazing movie; but that's not saying this one isn't good because it is solid
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It is amazing that the director managed to interview those persons, and to see from a direct perspective what is going on in their minds.
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