Taxi to the Dark Side


Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)


Critic Consensus: Taxi to the Dark Side is an intelligent, powerful look into the dark corners of the War on Terror.


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A stunning inquiry into the suspicious death of an Afghani taxi driver at Bagram air base in 2002, the film is a fastidiously assembled, uncommonly well-researched examination of how an innocent civilian was apprehended, imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately murdered by the greatest democracy on earth. Intermingling documents and records of the incident with candid testimony from eyewitnesses and participants, the film uncovers an inescapable link between the tragic incidents that unfolded in Bagram and the policies made at the very highest level of the United States government in Washington, D.C. Combining the cool detachment of a forensic expert with the heated indignation of a proud American who holds his country to a high standard, Gibney's film reveals how the Bush administration has systematically betrayed the very ideals it professes to uphold.


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Critic Reviews for Taxi to the Dark Side

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (28)

Gracefully weaving together interviews (some with the soldiers convicted of the beating), fresh images and official photographs, it suggests why so many politically themed fiction films have failed.

Nov 30, 2017 | Full Review…

Like the Iraq war documentary No End in Sight, this movie about the U.S. military's systematic torture of terror suspects is a triumph not of reporting but of synthesis.

Aug 29, 2011 | Full Review…

Certain to inspire both outrage and sorrow, Alex Gibney's harrowing documentary -- about the torture and abuse of suspected terrorists in U.S. military prisons -- ranks among recent cinema's more excoriating moral indictments.

Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Taxi to the Dark Side is a stunning indictment of torture as policy, a brilliant documentary whose arguments are so well-supported and reasonably made that you can't ignore them.

Mar 20, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Along with No End in Sight, this movie is one of the essential documentaries of the ongoing war.

Mar 17, 2008 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

Taxi to the Dark Side joins a growing list of outspoken documentaries that question the rationale and conduct of America's presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our willingness to destroy freedom in order to save it.

Mar 8, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Taxi to the Dark Side


"In 2002, a young cab driver picked up a few passengers near his home in Afghanistan... He never returned." An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

Too few have heard of Dilawar. Those who have will probably never forget him. Alex Gibney certainly will not. His latest film starts and ends with this poor innocent taxi driver who, in 2002, was taken to the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. Five days later, he was dead. Dilawar's death was the spark which ultimately led to the international awareness of what the Bush administration was doing to its detainees in the war on terror. Gibney's film, however, decides to look up the tree, not down, to discover who was really responsible for these unpleasant developments. Gibney's film is bolstered by frank and interesting interviews with some of the troops on the ground. Their remorse is clear, as is their disgust. And disgust is the right word. This is, by no means, an easy watch. The use of the appalling footage which has been generated by the recent conflicts is necessary because, if anyone is in any doubt about how morally reprehensible these tactics are, this film will make it abundantly clear. However, this film's real strength is the structure of its attack on the tactics that are employed. Gibney demonstrates that the tactics used are hopelessly inadequate and never yield effective information. There is a cutting and brilliant comparison with the old techniques and the new where an interviewee, a former FBI interrogator, uses his old tools of interrogation ? words ? and you can feel yourself being persuaded. This is not just a polemic. It is a human story and a powerful and well-constructed argument. It should be essential viewing as what has happened at Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib should never be forgotten. This is excellent, important film-making.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer


Persuasive film about military conduct and the ideologies that led to the torturing and eventual death of one man in particular, and how his story is a microcosm for what led to the Abu Ghraib scandal. Powerful material, to be sure, and the one man's tragic tale is affecting, but at the same time the film often feels one sided in it's presentation. For all the sanctimonious attitude, it never really offers up suggested solutions or alternatives for these complex problems. Nor does it differentiate between innocent prisoners and the guilty ones. By the end of the film, I felt there was no way of avoiding this scenario in the future. Cheery thought from any angle.

Steve K
Steve K

Super Reviewer

Possibly one of the best documentaries that I've seen in a long while. well researched and not biased in anyway....and will leave you feeling a little pissed at what the Bush administration allowed to happen. More to follow soon....

Sarah Gaish
Sarah Gaish

Super Reviewer


This is an excellent documentary built on hard facts. It shows the outrageous lengths that the US will go to and how damaging and tragic their methods can be. It's also a saddening depiction of how when the shit finally hits the fan it lands on those at the bottom of the ladder. Decent soldiers with too little training thrust into very violent situations. It also gives a glimpse of the president that John McCain could have been, had he not given into pressures from those in charge. Deserved it's Oscar.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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