Camp X-Ray – “A powerful story of people under extreme circumstances”
Written and directed by: Peter Sattler
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Peyman Moaadi, and Lane Garrison
Sitting down to watch “Camp X-Ray” I was expecting to see a hyper-political, “Our military is out there fighting the evil men so they can’t kill you in your sleep” type of movie. I was pleasantly surprised at what I got instead. Writer/director Peter Sattler went with an entirely different, and far more interesting approach. The film focuses almost completely on human interaction under extreme circumstances. No political preaching. No good guys vs. bad guys. Just humans who are having to cope with being stuck in a place they don’t want to be with no control over their own situation.
Now… I am going to say something here that is strange and foreign to me. Kristen Stewart gives her best performance in this film. I have long been a huge critic of Ms. Stewart’s acting abilities (it does not help that she is mostly known for the “Twilight” films which I loathe). In “Camp X-Ray” though I quite enjoyed her performance. Is it Oscar worthy? No. But, the interaction between her character Pvt. Amy Cole and Ali (Moaadi) is what successfully drives this film. The conversations between the two seem very natural, and the bond that they form is believable and allows the viewer to be sucked in to the emotionally charged story.
Sattler seems to be a very capable director and story teller. The cinematography is sharp and the story unfolds at a very good pace. I am excited to see his future work.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film. It was a surprising, original take on the military movie. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good story with powerful emotions. Probably not suited for people who like movies with a ton of action or eye candy.