Standard Operating Procedure 2008 R CC

(26) IMDb 7.5/10

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Starring:
Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis
Runtime:
1 hour, 56 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Documentary
Director Errol Morris
Starring Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis
Supporting actors Ken Davis, Anthony Diaz, Tim Dugan, Lynndie England, Jeffrey Frost, Sabrina Harman, Janis Karpinski, Roman Krol, Brent Pack, Jeremy Sivits, Christopher Bradley, Sarah Denning, Robin Dill, Joshua Feinman, Jeff L. Green, Roy Halo, Cyrus King, Alim Kouliev
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Sam Provance on September 21, 2008
Format: Blu-ray
Representatives for film director Errol Morris told me during pre-production that "Standard Operating Procedure" would be the very best documentary on the abuses of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib - the one that would tell the whole truth.

I had pinned great hope on that. It didn't turn out that way.

My perspective on the Abu Ghraib scandal came from spending from September 2003 to February 2004 at the Iraq prison as a sergeant in Army Intelligence. Working the 8 p.m.-to- 8 a.m. night shift, it was impossible not to notice who was directing the operation. And I shared all this with Morris.

But now I've seen the film and I'm disappointed. Morris does little to get to the bottom of what happened. He muddies already opaque waters regarding who was actually responsible for the abuse of prisoners.

The film focuses on the awful photos, the people in them and those who took them. This perspective plays right into the hands of the cover-up artists. It perpetuates the myth that the abuses are rightfully laid at the feet of those impressionable, but very human, young soldiers.

Morris should have been looking up the chain of command; at the civilian and military officials actually responsible for ordering these Military Police Reservists to rough up prisoners.

A no-holds-barred documentary? Give me a break.

Finally, the Whole Truth!

I was first put into contact with the makers of "SOP" while I was still in the Army. From the beginning, I was told this was going to be a huge project with the production support of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and that Morris, who had won an Oscar with his documentary, "The Fog of War," would be at the helm.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A fellow with a keyboard on September 14, 2012
Format: DVD
Reviewer "From Hades" spends 1,620 words supporting a thesis that can be stated in a sentence: The civilian interrogators were responsible for Abu Ghraib, and this film is flawed because it doesn't suggest that.

The reviewer makes clear that he believes the film spends too much time "humanizing" the military personnel when instead it should have been placing blame. He wanted the film to single out the civilian interrogators as the responsible persons so that, I guess, we can wipe our hands and move on.

It's distressing that his is the top-rated review because he is doing the precise thing that the film magnifies to absurdity: Telling the simple story, reaching the simple conclusion, identifying the "bad guys," and being satisfied with your tidy little explanation.

It's easier to theorize about human behavior than it is to look at it.

It's easy to look at the photos from Abu Ghraib and construct stories. A social psychologist might say that Abu Ghraib illustrates the results of the Stanford Prison Experiment. An economist might say that "rational" people were responding to grim incentives. An evolutionary biologist might say that Abu Ghraib merely shows apes gone amok amid environmental pressures. A neurochemist might say that the military personnel were experiencing a severe chemical imbalance in the brain.

It's hard to do what Errol Morris did, which is to examine the events that actually happened and listen to the people involved. The result -- this movie -- shows how grossly inadequate simple stories can be.

Before watching Errol Morris's films, it's important to understand that he does not make traditional "issue" or "historical" documentaries like you might see on PBS.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on May 19, 2008
In the past year, there have been a number of fiction films released all of which attempt to dramatize various aspects of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these films were well made, and share common themes. But they also have something else in common. They all flopped and failed to ignite the public moving them to action.

Now, the well-known documentarian Errol Morris ("Mr. Death", "The Thin Blue Line", "The Fog of War") turns his eye to one small part of the current conflict, Abu Ghraib.

Morris, like Michael Moore, is an unconventional documentarian. Both almost overtly inject themselves, their thoughts and views into their exploration of the subject matter. And both are usually criticized for this practice. Every good documentary displays the filmmaker's strong point of view. This is why the film is made in the first place, someone wants to share their view on a topic, the filmmaker was interested, disturbed, concerned about something. Moore has been criticized because he has taken on politically charged ideas. Morris is now turning his eye on politically themed ideas and is receiving similar criticism. In my mind, even when their films are flawed, they are interesting and meaningful because the directors are passionate about their point of view. Why would you want to see a documentary without a strong point of view? Such a film would be boring and pointless.

I would find it hard to believe that you haven't seen at least one picture to come out of this prison in Iraq, a prison the American forces took over and converted into an interrogation facility for the prisoners they were also holding there. As soon as the story broke, some of the pictures were shown on every news show and cable network ad nausea until the next big story broke.
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