Camp X-Ray (2014)

I don't watch movies in the hopes that I won't like them - despite what some of the readers of this blog may suggest. In this particular case, I had added this movie to my list of films to watch based on the aggregate reviews of several other sites. Everything pointed to this movie being very good, despite my reservations about the lead actor, Kristen Stewart.

This movie was written and directed by the same guy, whose directorial debut was the hit movie... wait... no, this is his directorial debut. I'm not saying that the writer also being the director is an automatic death sentence for the movie, but we're not dealing with an exceptional amount of experience.

Experience, however, is in my corner. I have experience with Kristen Stewart from one of the Twilight films - I don't remember which one. I found that her character in those movies was interchangeable with her character in this movie. She's moody, reckless, and self-righteous. See, in this movie, she is a soldier assigned to a rotation guarding detainees in Guantanamo Bay. She demonstrates very quickly that she is terrible at her job, and the army has not given these troops enough supervision (even though we see that there is a sophisticated security system designed to track prisoners and see everything that needs to be seen).

The reason I argue that the characters are interchangeable is that she demonstrates a critical inability to make decisions, do the right thing, or interact with other humans is a human way. She defies orders, is strangely promiscuous while being chaste, and trades on her natural beauty to engender the kindness of others.

In this movie, she befriends one of the detainees quite against orders and while there are other people around that - you would think - would make her violations considerably more difficult to pull off. The fact that she is friendly with him so soon after him having thrown feces on her makes it all the more unlikely. Fortunately for this movie, the metal doors and cinder block walls do nothing to even muffle the sounds as people speak at normal volumes (and even whispers) to talk to each other. This is made even more clear when the prisoners organize certain things amongst themselves. As a security concern, then, this should be near the top.

The awkward social interactions with other soldiers is probably done on purpose to give the audience the sense that she has more in common with the accused terrorists than with her own people, but it comes off as just general social ineptitude coupled with a prisoner who is bored to tears and needs to get someone else's story so he doesn't have to bounce his own thoughts around in his head all the time.

Direction was okay
Story was not good
Acting was average
Dialogue was pretty bad
Premise was bad

Bottom Line: Improbable and unlikable, this movie isn't what I hoped for.



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