Powerful, intense yet humorous, the film delves into the psychology of warfare and imprisonment for prisoners and army trained guards at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Private First Class Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart) is one of the only female prison guards. The first moments as a guard is restraining an unruly prisoner. She is kicked in her jaw. Where it seems she may want to quit, she does not show weakness. There is the sadistic and sexist Corporal Randy Ransdell (Lane Garrison) who tests Cole’s psyche. Many of the guards deal with the effects of being confined in the prison with limited contact to the outside world just as the prisoners.
Peyman Moaadi is the standout of the film as Ali, a prisoner who challenges and befriends Cole. He balances humor and drama with captivation. Kristen Stewart is bold and excellent. Lane Garrison is striking. Joseph Julian Soria who plays PFC Rico Cruz is strong. The ensemble brings a great breath of understanding of the story being told.
Director and writer Peter Sattler delivered moments of struggle of this world that is often stigmatized in the media. The reality is brought to scope in a thorough script. The story of these prisoners should be told more in the art of film.