My Rating: 9/10
Directed by Peter Sattler, ‘Camp X Ray’ is an American independent drama film concerning the story about Army private first class Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart), who eventually strikes up a unique bond with one of the detainees Ali Amir (Payman Maadi) when stationed at Guantanamo Bay detention camp – most specifically Camp Delta.
The film features many (perhaps unintentionally) funny and emotional scenes which as a result, actually left me an emotional mess at the end. The tears which had to be hastily wiped away with my shirt (haha yes I know) displays how powerful Kristen and Payman’s performances were. I was worried I’d come out looking like a Panda, but all was good.
In my opinion, the shooting of the movie was beautifully handled especially seeing as it is dealing with a rather sensitive subject. Regarding the premise of the story, events such as these do indeed between those on duty and the detainees as past case studies have revealed (Peter Sattler discusses this during the Q&A – video linked below).
I won’t give away any spoilers, but one particular scene brought out the true intensity within the story and a fellow member of the audience told me they actually didn’t realise they had been holding their breath during this moment. Again, this reaction could only have been induced by the astoundingly convincing performances by both Kristen and Payman.
As a HUGE fan of Kristen Stewart’s, I always enjoy seeing new projects that she gets involved with as they are all so diverse and she fully immerses herself in roles that she takes on, and also continually displays heart-felt performances. Kristen receives a lot of flack, but I personally think that she is a very talented actress (the least fake celebrity out there too) and doesn’t give two s**** about what people think of her. The girl CAN act!
Payman Maadi was another stand-out actor in this film for me. Having not heard of him before, the Iranian actor/director impressed me so much and the bond between his character and Kristen’s felt so real! (Hence why it brought out the emotions in the audience). Together, these two conveyed the two perspectives amazingly. I suppose the aim of this project is to show what happens at the detention camp and the difficulties faced within it. They succeeded!
Overall, even though ‘Camp X Ray’ is intense (it’s no light-hearted matter) the fabulous cast altogether made sure the topic was dealt with sensitively with the help of their brave director. BRAVO.
Behind the scenes featurette:
Screening intro at London Film Festival with director Peter Sattler:
Q&A with Peter Sattler after screening: