Taxi to the Dark Side


Taxi to the Dark Side

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 93


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,418
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Movie Info

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 (93) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (93)

  • 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…
  • Alex Gibney won best documentary Oscar for this gruelling, angry movie.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | 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…

    Bob Mondello
    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…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Taxi to the Dark Side

  • Jan 25, 2013
    I became ill watching this, which was the intended effect. Its one-sided, but honestly does the other side deserve a voice?
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2012
    A valuable addition to the canon of documentaries centred on the Afghan war. Here is the sad tale of a man in the wrong place at the wrong time..trying to eek out a living in a war torn environment and ultimately paying a price for it.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2011
    I thought it was great at showing what actually happens when we illegally torture human beings as a nation. It was extremely graphic which I think is what people need to see to hit home. Something everyone should watch...
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2010
    "Taxi to the Dark Side" is a highly insightful documentary that starts with the relatively simple incident of an Afghan taxi driver dying in custody at Bagram Army Base on December 5, 2002. While by now we may think we know most of what we can about torture and detainee abuses in the 21st century, the movie does a highly effective and disturbing job of connecting the dots, first by connecting the abuses at Bagram, first exposed by a pair of intrepid New York Times reporters, to the abuses at Abu Ghraib. This proves that they did not just happen in a vacuum and were systematic in function, being the result of orders coming from the very top which would override any moral qualms the soldiers might have by dehumanizing their prisoners.(In the resulting investigations, only enlisted men would be charged with crimes.) This would also include Guantanamo Bay where prisoners have been held without trial and access to habeas corpus and lawyers which are some of the cornerstones of a free society. It is not just the causes that interest director Alex Gibney so much but also the effects down the road. Because prisoners are routinely tortured, any information gathered will most likely be either useless or outright lies, with grave results possible. There is an example of friendly interrogation given by an experienced interrogator which proves how truly effective this approach would be by comparison. In the end, a lot of people who would have been sympathetic to the United States may now be susceptible to being fanaticized and we can already see some of this happening.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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