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Standard Operating Procedure [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français) [Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis, Anthony Diaz, Tim Dugan
  • Directors: Errol Morris
  • Producers: Errol Morris, Amanda Branson Gill, Ann Petrone, Diane Weyermann, Jeff Skoll
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, German, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, English, Spanish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 18 and over
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 14 2008
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B001DPHD92
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Product Description

Witness one of the worst debacles in American military history. Enter Abu Ghraib. This award-winning documentary uncovers the dramatic series of events that led to torture, international outrage, and forced a president to apologize to the world.

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Top Customer Reviews

By Cheryl TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30 2009
Format: DVD
I'm an Errol Morris fan, and this fascinating, yet disturbing documentary takes a revealing look at the military personnel who were either specifically uninformed or too inexperienced to handle the questionable orders from higher ranks. The consistent theme of personal consciousness conflicting with military orders, is not resolved. But to refuse any order would be an immediate career killer, so this film presents a constant hard-hitting catch 22. The not surprising result is a lot of lower rank scapegoating. Ultimately, there were only a few notes mentioning those with the longest prison terms, but I would have appreciated a 'wrap-up' of all the film's interviewees. As one observer notes of the outcome, "there were a lot of bodies thrown under the bus".
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Format: DVD
“Standard Operating Procedure” follows the plight of what happened to some of the former soldiers from the Abu Gharaib Prison scandal. There is an implication that more highly trained and higher ranking officials were involved than just the men and women featured in the documentary. Charles Graner was one of the men who was involved, but not shown in the documentary. However, his wife Megan Graner recalls what happened. In my humble opinion, it was tragic all around in regards to both the scandal and what happened to the soldiers. However, I would have to say that Lynndie England really got the shaft in more ways than one. England is honest enough to admit that Graner influenced her to pose in those photos and that she did it for love. However, at the time of that interview, he still had little to do with their son. Additionally, she was still seeking employment years after the incident ( as per an NBC news article on her from March 19 2013). I actually hope that things get better for Lynndie England because she served her time for the incidents and her son’s life also hangs in the balance. There is much more sensitive information than what I just mentioned and “Standard Operating Procedure” is good to watch for those who believe that there are always at least two sides to every story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Believe It or Not... Jan. 4 2010
By Kenneth A. Nelson - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are unfamiliar with the name "Abu Ghraib" then you shouldn't even be reading this review or considering this film for viewing. I would suggest getting some, less graphic information about this situation before venturing on.

I don't think anyone denies the attrosities that happened in this prison/interegation station. I think the only things that are still somewhat hidden/denied/ignored are the names behind the exact horrors and the depth of knowledge (of these actions) by those who should have been on top of every detail.

Be prepared for the real nitty-gritty. This documentary is not meant for an after-dinner social hour and certainly not for children, those who are squeemish or those people who are proud of the actions (or lack-there-of) of then President Bush, his Staff, our Government Officials and a few Generals.

Be prepared for some hard-core, hard hitting facts with picture proof.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's easier to theorize about human behavior than it is to look at it Sept. 14 2012
By A fellow with a keyboard - Published on
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. His purpose is not to document factual events, although that's part of it. Errol is after deeper truths--not just what happened, but why it happened, what it means, what it can tell us about ourselves.

If Standard Operating Procedure does not make you think about anything other than what happened at Abu Ghraib and who's responsible, then I wonder whether you were really paying attention.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars when a picture is worth more than a thousand words Jan. 11 2009
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on
Format: DVD
We're all familiar with the images that began flowing out of Abu Ghraib Prison in the spring of 2004 - photos showing detainees (some terrorists, others undoubtedly not) hooded and stripped, forced to assume painful and/or humiliating positions, often for hours on end, with American soldiers posing gleefully nearby, smiling and flashing thumbs-up signs for the camera. Once the pictures went viral, they came to symbolize not only the botched operation that was the Iraq war, but the fundamental failure of the U.S. military to win friends and influence people in a land the Bush administration claimed vehemently to be "liberating."

In "Standard Operating Procedure," famed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line") attempts to uncover the truth behind those photographs, mainly by allowing those who were most closely involved with the scandal to tell the story in their own words (including Private First Class Lynndie England, who, whether fairly or unfairly, emerged as the one clearly identifiable "face" and household name from the scandal). Morris provides no voiceover narration to accompany the interviews, just re-enactments of the incidents done in a quasi-surrealistic style, using slow motion photography and artsy graphics.

Through his discussions with the principal players in the drama, Morris provides a probing study of the effects of war time stress on the human psyche. The film offers no easy answers as to exactly why the events at Abu Ghraib unfolded as they did; yet, while it doesn't turn the individuals involved into easy-to-blame villains, it doesn`t completely exonerate them either. In fact, it is the seeming "normalcy" of these people, as they attempt to make their case for the camera, that renders their actions all the more unsettling. Morris also makes it clear that these low level individuals - many of whom have served time in prison for their crimes - were most certainly used as scapegoats for higher-ups in the military who managed to successfully deflect any personal culpability for the events that took place there.

In a true journalistic coup, Morris was able to obtain grainy home movies shot at the same time that the pictures were being taken. As a result, we're able to witness the step-by-step process by which that infamous shot of the naked men stacked in a pyramid formation ultimately came about.

"Standard Operating Procedure" doesn't successfully address all the questions it sets out to answer, but that is hardly a weakness of the film, since it is dealing with a complex, messy situation involving complex, messy people caught up in a complex, messy war. One doesn't leave "Standard Operating Procedure" necessarily more enlightened that when one went in - just more well-informed. And that's perhaps the best one could reasonably hope for under the circumstances.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Nuanced, and Profound Nov. 16 2008
By Philip Smith, Bookseller - Published on
Format: DVD
Having just watched this film on the DVD both with the normal soundtrack and with Errol Morris's Commentary track, I have to say that "From Hades" seems to be significantly misrepresenting (or failing to appreciate) the filmmaker's intentions and practices here.

The customer review section of an Amazon product page is a poor venue for a discussion of the historical truth underlying this disgraceful episode in our history, but anyone who watches this film dispassionately should, I think, conclude that Morris is making a much more complex suite of points, both historical and philosophical, than the other reviewer suggests. This is a beautifully executed work and I found it more morally grounded and serious than Morris's previous work--which I generally like, but which at times has been a bit hyper-stylized and marred by an addiction to tilted camera angles and the exhibitionistically vertiginous musical jackhammerings of Philip Glass (Danny Elfman provides a great and original score here).

It's clear that Morris has more disdain for the Bush administration than for the participants at Abu Ghraib, and many who view the film may be skeptical of the moral veracity of all interviewees here, but this is well worthy of attention as a contribution to current history and to the art of the documentary film. And its moral earnestness points a way toward our collective expiation of a dismal period in our history (and that of the world).
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the shadows and dark corridors of the Abu Ghraib episode Oct. 5 2009
By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. - Published on
Format: DVD
Engrossing and rife with the director's usual artistic flouishes, "Standard Operating Procedure" doesn't quite let those now infamous U.S. prison keepers at Abu Ghraib off the hook, but credibly purports that things were maybe a little more complicated than those equally infamous photographs seemed to indicate. Most chillingly, we see evidence that the most disquieting activities at the prison were the ones that weren't photographed, involving personnel who were too cagey and calculating to let themselves anywhere near a camera.

Due to Mr. Morris' balanced portrayal of the soldiers and honest attempt to get at the truth of the whole sorry mess, one actually comes to somewhat like- or at least feel a little sympathy for- the prison keepers who were interviewed, despite their unquestionably insensitive activities in the photographs. An audio commentary by Mr. Morris and a fascinating collection of deleted scenes further fuel the film's supposition that perhaps the net of blame should have been cast a little wider during that whole sad episode in the Iraq conflict.

"Standard Operating Procedure" looks and sounds great on standard DVD, with composer Danny Elfman's minimalist and haunting music somehow channeling the best work of Philip Glass, Mr. Morris' usual composer, on the moodily effective soundtrack.

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