Camp X-Ray (2014)

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Released 6-May-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-The Making of Camp X-Ray (11:56)
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 112:13
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Sattler
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Kristen Stewart
Payman Maadi
Lane Garrison
John Carroll Lynch



Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Jess Stroup


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Eight years after the 9/11 attacks Army Private Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart) is posted to Guantanamo Bay to guard the detainees (someone explains that they cannot be called prisoners, as prisoners have rights under the Geneva Convention), some of whom have been there without trial since 2001. The job is not easy and Amy has to deal with hostile and violent jihadists, being spat on and having excrement thrown on her. Initially Amy has no qualms about her role and fits in well with the other guards including Corporal “Randy” Ransdell (Lane Garrison). But gradually over the course of a year the detainee Ali Amir (Payman Maadi) gets under Amy’s skin until she starts to realise that some things are far from black and white.

     Camp X-Ray, writer / director Peter Sattler’s first feature film, is mature and realistic filmmaking. The film is a gradually evolving tableau showing the mind numbing, endless routines involved in watching over the detainees and while there are some aggressive guards in the prison, they are not sadistic or brutal; most are just doing a job and some, like the commander of Guantanamo Colonel James Drummond (John Carroll Lynch), hate it there but do their duty. We know next to nothing about Amy, except for one brief Skype conversation with her mother and the information that she comes from a small American town, and absolutely nothing about Ali; it is left open whether he is guilty of terrorist acts or not. There are sections of Arabic dialogue which are not subtitled and the prisoners are not demonised as the film, dispassionately, shows the two, mutually uncomprehending, worlds within Guantanamo.

     There is nothing flashy about the storytelling or camera work of Camp X-Ray. Sattler allows the relationship between Amy and Ali to unfold slowly and naturally and is helped by excellent performances from both Kristen Stewart and Payman Maadi. Although one might guess at the personal opinions of the filmmakers, Camp X-Ray is definitely not about the rights or wrongs of imprisoning men, who may or may not be guilty of terrorism, without a trial or rights for years; it strips these political issues aside to concentrate upon the human story of two people who struggle for some understanding of each other.

     Told without polemic or taking sides Camp X-Ray is well written and well-acted. It may be provocative in its even handedness but the depictions of the camp’s routine are intriguing and one comes away with a feeling of authenticity. This is probably how it is!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Camp X-Ray is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is very good. It is sharp and detailed and colours are natural and rich. Blacks are solid throughout and shadow detail good. Brightness and contrast were consistent, skin tones are natural.

     I did not see any marks or artefacts although the end titles shake slightly.

    There are no subtitles.

     The layer chance was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     The audio is appropriate to the film. Dialogue was mostly easy to hear although on occasion some of the actors mumbled when subtitles could have helped. Other than a party scene, or occasional outbreaks of yelling by the detainees, the surrounds were limited to music and the sounds of the doors opening somewhere within the facility. The sub-woofer was mostly silent.

     The score by Jess Stroup was low key but suitable for the film.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

The Making of Camp X-Ray (11:56)

     This consists of on-set, behind the scenes footage and comments from writer / director Peter Sattler and cast members Payman Maadi, Kristen Stewart, Lane Garrison and John Carroll Lynch. Items covered include the filmmaker’s intentions, the characters and the director. Not a lot of insight, as everyone was wonderful, but the on-set footage is interesting enough.

Theatrical Trailer (2:07)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for Citizenfour (1:36), May in the Summer (2:24), Short Term 12 (2:26) and Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes (2:13).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US release of Camp X-Ray seems to be basically the same as our release with the same extras.

Summary

     Camp X-Ray feels authentic in its low key portrayal of the routines within Guantanamo Bay. While some aspects of the relationship between guard and detainee feel a bit contrived, with good performances by Kristen Stewart and Payman Maadi, the film is an intriguing look at the tensions and culture within this controversial facility.

     The DVD has good video and audio. The extra is short but worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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