Staying on the current-events beat after his 2005 Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, filmmaker Alex Gibney aims to make ripped-from-the-headlines jaccusations that are also durable documents, with Taxi to the Dark Side. The title refers to the cab driven by an Afghan man named Dilawar. Picked up as a suspect in a rocket attack in 2002, he was placed in the custody of U.S. soldiers at the Bagram Collection Point. Within five days, Dilawar was dead from injuries he sustained from beatings to the legs, complicated by the trauma of being left spread-
eagled and handcuffed to the ceiling of his cell. Dilawars story is used as the entryway into a larger discussion of systems, as his prison cell opens onto a broad study of American interrogation tactics as theyve developed in the years following 9/11. Gibneys experts answer the central questionDoes torture ever work?with something close to a pat No. But maybe Taxi has to cut messy issues clean, so theyll fit as building blocks in its splendid polemic architecture. When you step back, it is something to admire: Without cheapening the suffering of American or Afghan, the film retrieves the torture issue from the realm of the abstract to give the plain facts of this world right now. Continues through Thurs., Feb. 14. Rated R.
Fri., Feb. 8, 2008