Uncovering Curiosities: Peter Sattler’s CAMP X-RAY

Camp X-Ray is a solid 2014 drama set within the confines of Guantanamo Bay, Kristen Stewart is the young soldier who strikes-up an unlikely relationship with one of the camp’s detainees (they can’t be called prisoner’s because they’d be given certain rights under the Geneva Convention).

Writer/director Peter Sattler’s film is a noble modern war movie filled with decent performances from Stewart and co-star Peyman Moaadi. It’s a good character piece but it’s ultimately predictable and it fails to build tension on a larger level. The lack of widescreen visuals may have been a specific choice to keep the drama in close quarters but because of this the film never breaks out on a visual level.

It’s likely that every review for a Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson movie needs to feature a reference to the Twilight movies, so I’ll get that out of the way now. She does well with her intense role here, but once again she fails to show any humour. She can do angry and intense – but can she do comedy? Camp X-Ray plays to her strengths but there’s nothing here that pushes her on a creative level.

The gung-ho Americana of films like John Wayne’s The Green Beret’s morphed into more ambiguous territory in the 1970s and 1980s and now a change in warfare has led to war movies with even more shades of grey. Camp X-Ray is caught in the post-911 milieu and it continues the theme of sombre and low key dramas that have hit screens over the last 10 or 15 years. It might not be one of the best but it does make for interesting viewing.