Errol Morris mixes media in a documentary examining the Abu Ghraib photos


In 1997, millimeter Senior Contributing Editor D. W. Leitner respectfully accused director Errol Morris of “transgressing the canons of documentary dogma” while writing about Morris’ then-new documentary Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. Ten years later, the Oscar-winning filmmaker (for 2003’s The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara) is at it again, toying with the whole concept of what exactly a documentary is or isn’t as part of his newest work: Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) from Sony Pictures Classics.

The film — like Morris’ famous The Thin Blue Line (1988) — features what may loosely be called re-enactments of events surrounding the infamous Abu Ghraib prison scandal that the main players in the drama describe, but as with The Thin Blue Line, those re-enactments do not necessarily reflect the exact specifics of the situation — nor are they intended to. Robert Richardson, ASC — the co-cinematographer on the film, along with Robert Chappell — says the re-enactments should be more properly defied as “creative translations.” The film also features visual effects and other dramatic touches, such as ghostly images of characters who have come and gone from the story and much more that might lead viewers to conclude the movie is hardly a standard documentary.

(Source: Millimeter)

Directors, Documentary

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