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London Film Festival Review: Camp X-Ray

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★★★★☆

Platonic love, or heterosexual male-female friendships, rarely get a look-in in movies and if they do they aren’t usually placed centre-stage.

Camp X-Ray could be considered brave for doing just this, but its bravery count extends even further, since the relationship in question is between a US soldier (Kristen Stewart) and a detainee in Guantanamo Bay (Peyman Moaadi). She walks past his cell every day, patrolling the corridors. He talks to her through the door. At first their relationship is not an amicable one, but as they continue to talk they find common ground and open each other’s mind. There’s even an amusing discussion about Harry Potter and the J.K. Rowling’s characterisation of Snape.

Writer and director Peter Sattler’s debut feature is a largely successful one, and brings out the best in Stewart. Much criticised in the past for her acting ability (sometimes not without cause), her turn here is the most nuanced and well-pitched performance to date. Although the ending doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch one would hope, this is still a solid, topical and involving human drama and an intriguing insight into one of the most controversial places on planet earth.

Cap X-Ray (2014), directed by Peter Sattler, is showing this autumn as part of the BFI London Film Festival. Tickets are available to book here. Watch the trailer below:




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