Press & Reviews

Joe Leydon, Variety Imagine a Franz Kafka story with illustrations by Frank Miller, and you're ready for "The Prisoner, or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair,"  

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Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune--Documentaries necessarily leave a thousand untold stories in the dust, and often you're left wondering about angles and alleyways not taken. What's that person's story? Yunis Khatayer Abbas very nearly was one of those untold stories.  

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Richard Schickel, Time Magazine, Question: Can a film symbolically contain all the elements of a vast, complicated and enigmatic tragedy within the microcosmic story of a single individual accidentally caught up in the ghastly mess of -- for convenient example -- the Iraq war?  

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Phillip Kennicott, Washington Post: War is a big ugliness. This film is about the little ugliness, the abuses of dignity, the small mistakes that cause huge disruption in the lives of little people.  

Gene Seymour, Newsday ...gives you hope for humanity in general is that Abbas came out of his demeaning and heart-rending experience with his dignity...  

Michelle Orange, Village Voice: Yunis, as he imploringly reminds us, is the Iraqi people, but he is also steeped in Hollywood references, pulling analogies for the U.S. occupation from Rambo and Dirty Harry. When Yunis occasionally falters, it's not because English fails him; in recounting a story as hideous, incredulous, and nightmarish as this, there are both no words, and hardly words enough.  

Peter Brunette, Screen Daily, The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair is a powerfully moving documentary about one Iraqi man's mistreatment...  

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Christina Davidson, Iraq Slogger, "The Prisoner" actually communicates something much more profound than any other Iraq documentary I have seen to date. Something that transcends the specifics of this prisoner, or this war, or this period in history. Something about the need to look deeper than the immediate circumstances to seek out the basic humanity of those you might otherwise fear, hate, or suspect.  

Christopher Dickey, Newsweek You can get a fine, nuanced and ultimately very disturbing sense of the durable and deeply ingrained anger among the Iraqis from an extraordinary documentary film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein due for release later this month: "The Prisoner: or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair."  

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Ray Pride, New City Chicago--Yunis Khatayer Abbas has a look in his eye. Sad, accepting, honest, serene: American "intel" in Iraq led the Army to believe that Yunis was the key player in a plot to murder British Prime Minister (and one-man coalition of the willing) Tony Blair. None of it was true. Michael Tucker, who co-directed the grunts-on-the-ground doc "Gunner Palace" with wife Petra Epperlein, was on a Baghdad patrol with the soldiers sent to capture Abbas, video camera in hand.  

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David M. Halbfinger, The New York Times Easily one of the most damning new films, though, is "The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair," by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, which had its origin in a haunting moment from the couple's successful 2004 documentary about the Iraq conflict, "Gunner Palace."  

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Gabriel Snyder, Variety, "Soldier talks about Abu Ghraib at Toronto",TORONTO -- In a surprise appearance after the first Toronto screening of Abu Ghraib doc "The Prisoner, Or: How I Tried to Kill Tony Blair," a U.S. soldier whose unit was stationed at the notorious Iraqi prison came forward to publicly condemn the American military's handling of its detainees in Iraq.  

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David D'Arcy, Green Cine, "There has to be a reckoning". If you're at a loss for what to make of the official US rhetoric on our momentum toward victory in Iraq, see the documentaries of Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein. They made Gunner Palace, one of the best docs on the war in Iraq from the point of view of US soldiers two years ago, and they returned to this month's Toronto International Film Festival with their new doc, The Prisoner, or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, the war seen from the point of view of an Iraqi captured by the same American troops.  

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David Poland, Movie City News, "There is no hysteria in Mr. Abbas, whatever horror he is describing. He is a man with a story. He is a man we believe."  

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