DVD REVIEW: Guantanamo detainees face to face with guards

UNUSUAL ROLE: Kristen Stewart in a scene from Camp X-Ray.
UNUSUAL ROLE: Kristen Stewart in a scene from Camp X-Ray. Beth Dubber



KRISTEN Stewart's brooding exterior comes in handy in her new role as a Guantanamo Bay guard.

Camp X-Ray has an intriguing storyline. Stewart plays a US soldier named Amy Cole who has turned her back on her small-town upbringing to do something meaningful for her country. She's stationed at Guantanamo Bay as part of the team that monitors the detainees 24/7.

She's on a mission to succeed and jumps into her new role, volunteering straight up to restrain a detainee, and she is punched in the face for her efforts.

On day two she's pushing the book cart down the hallway when she first encounters Ali. He's an intriguing man. There's a realness to him in a building where no one is encouraged to share their personal information. While most men ignore hard-face Cole due to religious gender role beliefs, Ali takes the time to chat and almost flirt. He has some personality in a regimented environment, driving everyone to breaking point.

Ali and "Blondie", as he calls Amy, start to reveal more about themselves ever so subtly and cautiously through the wire-mesh slit in the locked steel cell door. The monotony of prison work shadows the cruel treatment of the detainees.

Director Peter Sattler highlights the mistreatment. Prisoners basically go crazy in their cells and get up to mischief, even throwing their faeces at guards, to cure their boredom. I just wish he put more thought into developing the friendship between Cole and Ali.

Amy takes solace in having an unconventional friend, for she, too, is a prisoner, in a battle for equality among her male counterparts and stranded in her job, with the only connections to the real world via Skype on her computer. It's a very interesting concept, but could have been executed better.

Topics:  dvd

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