Standard Operating Procedure Reviews

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Michael Chaiken
Film Comment Magazine
November 14, 2013
The film's bloody dramatizations...suggest a fundamental distrust of the efficacy of the word over the image and a bland assumption that audiences have lost their ability to empathize.
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
July 4, 2008
...at times it veers dangerously close to being just another solipsistic horror show, another magic trick in which absolution is achieved through ordinariness.
Full Review | Original Score: 84/100
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
May 1, 2008
A misjudged degree of cinematic dazzle obscures the outrages at the core of Standard Operating Procedure, director Errol Morris' first documentary since The Fog of War, and the first Iraq documentary to focus on the infamous Abu Ghraib photo
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
February 13, 2008
It seems like Morris...misses the bigger picture.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
May 23, 2008
It's unpleasant, as it should be, but not very illuminating.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
February 13, 2008
Adds relatively little insight to the public understanding of wayward military behavior.
Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
May 8, 2008
Reduces one of the truly horrifying controversies in American military history to an intellectual puzzle.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
April 25, 2008
those hoping to see Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz - if not President Bush - get a cinematic racking in Standard Operating Procedure are going to be disappointed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Brian Tallerico
The Deadbolt
May 2, 2008
Even with an amazing filmmaker like Morris, it's impossible to yet fully focus the photos from Abu Ghraib and truly know what happened, who was right, who was wrong, and when it will happen again.
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
August 9, 2011
A bore and a real pain to sit through.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
April 23, 2008
Since The Thin Blue Line's remarkable intervention, Morris's work has grown more public and more problematic -- lofty yet snide, a form of know-it-all epistemological inquiry.
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
April 25, 2008
All I am arguing here is that Morris's manner of relating this story is very often quite inappropriate to its substance.
Sean Burns
Philadelphia Weekly
May 21, 2008
Each successive Morris picture seems to grow glossier and more vague, pushing further into abstraction and incessant macro-lens close-ups of ham-fisted recurring symbols. There's also really annoying music.
Jeanne Kaplan
Kaplan vs. Kaplan
May 6, 2008
After Errol Morris' "Fog of War", I was expecting something more provocative from him --- instead, what we get is a very lengthy, often repetitive viewing of the infamous photographs of Abu Ghraib.
David Kaplan
Kaplan vs. Kaplan
May 6, 2008
The best I can say about this film is that it's important from the standpoint of having an historical record so an event like Abu Ghraib is not repeated.
Jean Lowerison
San Diego Metropolitan
October 18, 2008
Morris never gets close to the administrative attitude that apparently sanctioned, perhaps even encouraged the goings-on, despite Karpinski's contention that 'none of this produced useful intelligence.'
Ethan Alter
Film Journal International
April 15, 2008
The lack of a clear narrative arc causes the film to seem repetitive.
Armond White
New York Press
April 23, 2008
Standard Operating Procedure is a documentary debacle.
Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Daily News
May 23, 2008
[This] fancy, arty, sometimes abstract inquiry (the movie stops to ponder the meaning of photography) into infamous events at the Iraqi prison feels a little flimsy next to the thorough, hard-nosed reporting of Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Jeff Vice
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
June 5, 2008
As powerful as selected moments in the film are, it's not one of Morris' better works.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
Peter Keough
Boston Phoenix
June 9, 2009

Irish Times
October 18, 2008
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