Film In The Stage Show And The Stage Show In Film
And, he shows clips of The Seige, the 1998 fiction feature film that Wright penned, projecting how America might react in response to acts of terrorism. In the film (which was, by the way, the number one DVD rental in the aftermath of 9/11), star Denzel Washington expounds that Americans must not respond to terrorist acts by declaring martial law, because in curtailing civil liberties, Americans lose the very rights and values we're fighting to preserve.
Gibney's task in My Trip To Al-Qaeda was not unlike that of Davis Guggenheim in making the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth(2006). Both transform one-man performances into documentaries. In taking us beyond the stage show, Gibney films Wright in his office in Texas, and follows him as he does research and interviews people in Saudi Arabia and other places. Additionally, Gibney uses clips of American troops, Afghan troops, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and cohorts, US Congressional hearings, Dick Cheney, Bush the Father and Bush the Son.
A Solidly Complementary Collaboration
Wright is a quite a compelling presence. He explains that his determination to know more about Al-Qaeda rose out of the ashes of the twin towers and his need to understand what was thought to be, in some way, his prophecy. He immediately establishes his ongoing interest in Islamic culture by taking us to Egypt, where he'd once taught English in a school that was attended, albeit not at the same time, by Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 terrorists.
Throughout the film, Wright and Gibney trace for us the origins of Al-Qaeda and the ascent of Osama bin Laden. The information is important. But, as the documentary progresses, we see that the film's central character is neither Al-Qaeda nor Osama bin Laden--nor, for that matter, Wright--but America itself. And the central issue is not how America will win the war on terrorism, but how terrorism may transform the nature of the nation. The prospects are, indeed, terrifying.
The Film's Theme And Thesis
In My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Wright concludes that Al-Qaeda can't destroy America--only we can do that--to ourselves."There's a hole inside us. It's a black hole. The country that we were is being sucked inside," says Wright. "Al-Qaeda can't do that. Only we can do that to ourselves."
This powerful thesis, presented in a well-researched, informative and completely gripping documentary, will challenge you to delve deeper into your own thoughts about the nature of our democratic government and process, and about our personal responsibilities as citizens.
If You Like This Film, You May Also Like:
- Stop Loss
- In The Shadow of Afghanistan
- Standard Operating Procedure
- Taxi To The Dark Side
- Fighting For Life
- The Hurt Locker
- Title: My Trip To Al-Aaeda
- Director: Alex Gibney
- Release Date on HBO: September 7, 2010
- Running Time: 86 mins.
- MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, including descriptions of violence
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: USA, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
- Language: English
- Production Company: Jigsaw Productions
- Distribution: HBO Documentaries
- Official Website