Or, to be fair, it might have been far too risky. If there's one thing that most of the current crop of documentaries have in common, it is that they're risk-free. Nobody will be -going into hiding; no careers will be -ruined. As with political theatre and Hollywood "protest" films, the agenda is set as firmly as the prejudices of the audiences who will be drawn to them. You should know by now what you're going to get. It would, however, be refreshing to be surprised occasionally, or for another view to unexpectedly surface. Neither Morris's film, nor the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, which covers similar ground and which has been released on DVD, offer us this.
Both of these films are very well made; in the case of Standard Operating Procedure, almost too well made, in fact. With its lush, menacing score by Danny Elfman (a film composer who specialises in soundtracks of the ersatz Gothic variety), as well as impression-istic dramatic reconstructions and smart graphics, it borders on the glossy. It also has interviews with the soldiers who achieved 15 minutes of global notoriety when they posed for the camera like goons at a theme park - most notably Lynndie England, who, with her dead little eyes and motionless face, looks like Roseanne Barr with the personality cut out. The "little guys" were the fall guys is the gist, although Lynndie goes one step -further and, embarrassingly, claims her love for a bad man (her colleague Charles Graner, still in jail) amounted to duress. Taxi to the Dark Side draws on a similar pool, but is somewhat wider in its reach. Directed by Alex -Gibney, who also made the Oscar-nominated -Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the film surveys what it claims is the Bush ad-ministration's "willingness to undermine -human rights in its prosecution of the ‘war on terror'". It gets as near as dammit to calling the President a war criminal.