September Tapes (2004)
Commercial director Christian Johnston makes his feature film debut with the dramatic thriller September Tapes. The story takes place in Afghanistan, one year after the events of September 11. American journalist Don Larson (George Calil) and his two companions travel to Kabul in order to investigate the search for Osama bin Laden. After meeting with members of the Northern Alliance, he is arrested for taking photographs. While he's incarcerated, Don learns about a bounty hunter named Babak who may be able to help them. September Tapes premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the American Spectrum competition. … More
as Don Larson
as Wali Zarif
as Northern Alliance Co...
as Guard/Gun Dealer
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Critic Reviews for September Tapes
Eventually collapses under the weight of its no-budget arrogance, but it goes some interesting places beforehand.
Finally, there are no truths, higher or lower, in September Tapes...just a lot of din.
Johnston's rough-hewn handheld footage generates a sense of dread as a defining force behind the camera, more concrete than any onscreen images.
It's riddled with stilted voice-overs and eye-rollingly awful dialogue.
It's hard to make a case for an American film that intentionally mixes fact with fiction when the facts concerning 9/11, the Taliban and the fate of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden are already so elusive.
Afghanistan shouldn't be used as a backdrop for some director's selfish attempt at provocation.
The film itself still feels faked, and its calculated exploitation of some real tragedies may be the most unbelievable thing of all.
The whole notion of exploiting a war and its victims to shoot a commercial feature is reprehensible.
Squanders incredible verisimilitude by undercutting it with credibility-defying storytelling.
Credit September Tapes with raising thorny questions about what forms of cinematic storytelling do justice to truth.
It shares a lot with the Hollywood product: a forced gimmick, a dislikable protagonist, a transparent plot twist and a lot of unconvincing drama.
War porn, an amateurish and incomprehensible mishmash of alleged fact and fiction.
This disturbing docudrama is a remarkable achievement on many levels.
It yanks us eyes-first into a place that we, in our living rooms, have known only as a cliché.
Alternating between the despicable and the inept and sometimes capturing both in a single moment, September Tapes is a craven attempt to cash in on the 9/11 tragedy.
A hybrid, containing both fictional and real elements. As often happens with such efforts, the movie doesn't fully succeed in meeting the demands of either side of a complex equation.
Painfully lacking in both emotional impact and insight into the country's tragic recent history.
Audience Reviews for September Tapes
An interesting idea, but it is delivered in that fake documentary, shakey, hand-held video camera style. Good footage of the Afghanistan/Pakistan countryside, and some pretty good combat scenes...but the entire reason that he was supposed to be there was lost to me. Had he lost his mind? All he really accomplished was to be the cause of more senseless killings. I have to say, though, that I was left with a sickened feeling after watching this..even knowing all along that it wasn't real.More
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