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Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Abu Jandal is a taxi driver in Sana’a, Yemen; his brother-in-law Salim Hamdan is a Guantanamo prisoner and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Jandal and Hamdan’s intertwined personal trajectories—how they became bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver respectively—act as prisms that serve to explore and contextualize a world which has confounded Western media. As Hamdan’s trial progresses, his military lawyers challenge fundamental flaws in the court system. The charismatic Jandal dialogues with his young son, Muslim students and journalists, and chillingly unveils the complex evolution of his belief system post-9/11. Winner of Best Documentary Cinematography at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, The Oath offers a rare window into a hidden realm—and the international impact of the U.S. War on Terror. (Zeitgeist Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 90
    This is a challenging, brilliantly constructed film that, despite its patience and quiet tone, is engrossing from its first moments, especially an opening scene that encapsulates Jandal's poignant contradictions.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    The hidden message of The Oath is so inescapable as to be Shakespearean: Character will out.
  3. 83
    Her film is just as effective as a portrait of two unknowable, individual souls caught up in events of global scale.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    70
    It has staying power. In place of large revelations, you’ll find yourself remembering scenes like the one in which Abu Jandal sits absorbed by a news report of a bombing in Kabul, until his son requests a change of channel. It’s time for “Tom and Jerry.”
  5. Reviewed by: John Defore
    70
    Fascinating, however uneasy, viewing.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    70
    Quietly, the film makes the case that "enhanced interrogation techniques" were no enhancement. Interviewing jihadis "by the book," one interrogator testifies, yielded better information than violence and deprivation.
  7. 50
    By focusing on the human aspect of Al-Qaeda, The Oath does give the viewer something to think about, but the film is unsatisfying, raising questions and providing too few answers.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

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