26th Aug2014

‘Prisoner of War’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke Moran, Sean Astin, Sara Paxton, Omid Abtahi, John Heard, Michael Welch, John Robinson, Elijah Kelley, Scott Patterson, Jermaine Williams, Cru Ennis, Bernhard Forcher, Luis Bordonada, Jerry Hernandez | Written and Directed by Luke Moran

prisoner-of-war-cast

This dramatic war thriller follows soldier Jack Farmer (Luke Moran) from small town America to Iraq’s most infamous prison, Abu Ghraib, where he’s tasked with guarding the Army’s highest priority detainees. Pressured by his superior (Sean Astin) into using harsh techniques on a seemingly innocent detainee (Omid Abtahi), the seductive allure of war quickly turns to a haunting reality that threatens to break him.

War. What is it good for? Well seemingly it’s good for churning out war film after war film. Some bad. Some good. Thankfully Prisoner of War falls into the latter camp. Produced by the same people behind Traffic and Blood Diamond, the films is loosely based on true events that took place in 2004 – I say loosely as there have been claims this film has white-washed what actually happened in Abu Ghraib, “softening” the actual horrors that happened there to make for a more watchable movie. And to an extent I guess that’s true, although only those that were there could really have any comment on that.

Instead of focusing on the physical aspects of what went down, Prisoner of War (also know as Boys of Abu Ghraib) takes a more psychological tact, looking at the effects the events had mentally on both soldiers and captors – although I don’t understand the odd choice to blame the captors for the torture wrought upon them towards the end of the film, all this does is point out the films very pro-American, unbalanced view of events.

And the fact that all I took away from the movie is that tension and boredom can lead to such extreme behaviour? Well I could have watched a much more enjoyable, and more exciting, exploitation revenge movie to see that.

Prisoner of War is out now on DVD and iTunes from 4Digital Media.

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