September Tapes

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Reviews Counted: 34

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Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

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.

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George Calil
as Don Larson
Wali Razaqi
as Wali Zarif
C.K. Smith
as Commander
Baba Jon
as Rahman
General Dil Agha
as Northern Alliance Commander
Dawood Zarif
as Guard/Gun Dealer
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Critic Reviews for September Tapes

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (14)

  • Eventually collapses under the weight of its no-budget arrogance, but it goes some interesting places beforehand.

    Nov 24, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Johnston's rough-hewn handheld footage generates a sense of dread as a defining force behind the camera, more concrete than any onscreen images.

    Sep 30, 2004
  • Afghanistan shouldn't be used as a backdrop for some director's selfish attempt at provocation.

    Sep 24, 2004 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…
  • The film itself still feels faked, and its calculated exploitation of some real tragedies may be the most unbelievable thing of all.

    Sep 24, 2004
  • The whole notion of exploiting a war and its victims to shoot a commercial feature is reprehensible.

    Sep 24, 2004 | Rating: 2/4
  • Squanders incredible verisimilitude by undercutting it with credibility-defying storytelling.

    Sep 24, 2004 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

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.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

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