BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB | BLU RAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

We review a lot of straight to video films on Salty Popcorn, I decided we would do this as we would have an opportunity to see films that were not commercial and could contain hidden gems. Mostly they would be failures and total pieces of trash that do not even deserve to be on home entertainment or even made for that matter, but at the same time, not only would we probably be the only people in the country reviewing these films, we would also occasionally come across some treasures in these films that fell through theatrical cracks. Some of the best films I have seen in the last year have been these “slipped through the cracks” films. 12 AND HOLDING, one of my favourite films of all time is one of these films, I DECLARE WAR was one I found in February and Kernel Mitch also found one yesterday in THE ASWANG CHRONICLES. Well BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB is another diamond in the unstressed shitty coal pile. It is the best film I have reviewed from ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT and is out now on DVD and BLU RAY. It runs for 98mins and is rated MA15+. To top it off, the great peeps at ANCHOR BAY have given us 3x copies on BLU RAY to giveaway, find out below on how to win.

 

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB is an ambitious and successful feature film from writer, director and lead star, Luke Moran. It tells the story quite melodramatically of the actual events that led well serving military men at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004 to become human right’s violators and to torture men in their charge beyond anything acceptable. It made international headlines and involved all levels of the military and the worst thing was that it was all sanctioned.

I have to be honest, I do not remember this, was probably in a haze of weed and not caring about anything in the world besides my own small orbit. This film opened my eyes and I thought it gave me a sufficient glimpse into reasons this happened and what would lead men who have a sworn oath of protection and doing good for the world to perform such heinous acts. The critics of the world disagree, they wanted it more in your face and found the film barely broached the horrendous acts of torture. The world now seems to want everything displayed for them in pure goreful reality, I prefer to use my imagination. For me, I got the point, it was enough for me, I do not need to see men tortured anymore than what I saw, I looked the rest up and believe we well and truly were shown enough. I did not want a torture film, I was happy with a psychological film that looks at how one man lost his innocence and became part of the travesty.

 

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB MOVIE IMAGE
BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | RE-ENACTMENT OF ONE OF THE MOST VISUAL TORTURE PHOTOS FROM ABU GHRAIB

 

Jack Farmer (Luke Moran) is a 22yr old innocent post 9/11 American soldier who is shipped off to Abu Ghraib with a bunch of other guys in his unit. They are set for adventure and are expecting to make a world changing difference to better the planet. Instead they are set for a 6 month stint at Abu Ghraib prison, a prison housing the worst of the worst, the supposed mass murdering terrorists who are the greatest enemy to the West. Abu Ghraib is at the ass end of the world, hidden away but constantly under threat of mortar attacks. Farmer and his unit are the mechanics, they have to fix the trucks and slowly life at Abu Ghraib becomes batshit boring. Wanting more Farmer volunteers to work as a volunteer guard. He is idealistic and has visions of being a proper prison guard, what he soon discovers is mistreated prisoners and the life of a babysitter of things in cages.

He is forbidden from speaking to the prisoners and must avoid having shit thrown at him and be responsible for keeping these men safe and secure so higher big wigs can have them routinely taken for “interrogation.”

Eventually the added monotony of this “existence” leads Farmer to commence a friendship with one of the prisoners, Ghazi Hammoud (Omid Abtahi).

 

BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB IMAGE
BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | JACK FARMER (LUKE MORAN) AND GHAZI HAMMOUD (OMID ABTAHI)

 

I will leave the rest for you, but let me say things deteriorate and we see the destruction of a man’s decency and honour.

Moran’s acting, directing and writing are superb. The film is no ZERO DARK THIRTY but it does tell a good story. I did find it occasionally borders on the telemovie with it’s angles and soft look at the story and I would have preferred more screen time for Sean Astin (LORD OF THE RINGS) and John Robinson (ELEPHANT), both great actors that were heavily underutilised. I loved the bond of the unit but also felt this was not explored enough instead concentrating on the boredom of the place. The film could actually have been another 20-30mins longer and incorporated more of the unit, more of the psychological trauma and more of the evil perpetrated (to keep the rest of the world happy). It was also supposed to be the largest detention centre in the world but for me it felt more like a tiny local prison and the expansiveness of the place was never shown.

This being said I was not expecting anything from this film and I got a lot more than that. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of this and Moran was a treat to watch, I am very eager to see his next work.

And bonus points for the ending, that was incredibly powerful and made the film for me.

 

4 Pops

 

With special thanks to ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 3x BLU RAYs of BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question. Be sure to stipulate which format you would prefer with your answer.

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS THE BEST PRISON MOVIE OF ALL TIME AND WHY? as far as I am concerned there is no competition – THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels, more likely ME.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.