In Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba (here an abandoned juvenile prison just outside LA), everyone is behind bars: guards and…we usually say prisoners but the first thing you learn from Camp X-Ray is that the word prisoner is forbidden because in that case they will be subject to the terms of the Geneva Conventions.
The movie starts during the World Trade Center attack and it shows the arrest of Ali Amir (Payman Maadi). Eight years are gone, Ali is in Guantanamo Bay and at the prison arrives a new recruit, the Army Private Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart). After difficult teen years spent in a small town in Florida where she grew up, Amy decided to join the Army to escape a feeling of choking. Day after day, Amy’s situation at Guantanamo Bay becomes increasingly untenable: she is sexually harassed by another soldier, and then she is smeared with a detainee’s feces, … Obviously all the while remains an obedient cog in a military machine (actually there is nothing that A Few Good Man has already taught us back in 1996 about Guantanamo’s privates situation). But day after day also her friendship with Ali becomes stronger and stronger as Amy‘s knowledge of herself. One of her duties is to supply the detainees with books and the thing Ali desires more than anything is the last Harry Potter’s book and…
Although the movie is sometimes far-fetched, the cast and especially the two main characters, offer to the audience a good performance and, perhaps for the first time since The Yellow Handkerchief, Kristen Stewart proves her skills as an actress who, with the right project, can be very good.
“If I follow your rules it means that I admit you have the right to give me rules but you don’t”.