Standard Operating Procedure review

The most daring and style-conscious of non-fiction filmmakers, Errol Morris has at least two masterpieces to his credit in The Thin Blue Line and Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control. By those lights, SOP is a bit of a disappointment.

An attempt really to come to grips with those shocking Abu Ghraib photographs, the film allows the guilty MPs their say: the prison was often shelled… they were saving lives… they were under orders… everyone knew about it.

Some do emerge with shreds of hard-won sympathy and Morris makes a subtle case that the photos enabled a cover-up of greater crimes.

It’s engrossing stuff, but unfortunately it’s also frustratingly narrow in scope. If you want to know more on the subject, Alex Gibney’s relatively conventional Taxi To The Dark Side sheds further light on how we got here.


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