Taxi to the Dark Side
Directed by Alex Gibney
An Afghan taxi driver’s death spurs an exposé of American interrogation tactics.
Taxi to the Dark Side is a timely peek into one corner of the war on terror, said Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times. Director Alex Gibney recounts the true story of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar who wound up dead because of an oversight by the U.S. military. The 22-year-old driver, detained for his alleged involvement in an attack on an American base, was chained in a cage and had his legs beaten to a pulp. He survived just five days of questioning before dying. The unsparing documentary unveils “deeply disturbing” photographs and video footage never before seen by the public, along with “chilling” accounts from the victim’s brother, former guards, fellow detainees, members of the Bush administration, and the New York Times reporters who broke the story. Gibney’s argument is “deeply felt and studiously calm,” said Stephen Whitty in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. He leaves room for the opposition and reveals an empathy for the “poorly trained and overstressed” interrogators, who hardly bore sole responsibility for this tragedy. The “beating heart of the film” is its broad array of interviewees, said Adam Liptak in The New York Times. “Reflective, troubled, and sometimes broken,” they help Gibney make his case about how untrammeled authority can warp morality and corrupt the rule of law.