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Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) is a documentary film directed by American filmmaker Alex Gibney, and produced by Eva Orner and Susannah Shipman, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[1] It focuses on the murder of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar,[2] beaten to death by American soldiers while being held in extrajudicial detention at the Bagram Air Base.

Taxi to the Dark Side examines America's policy on torture and interrogation in general, specifically the CIA's use of torture and their research into sensory deprivation. There is description of the opposition to the use of torture from its political and military opponents, as well as the defense of such methods; the attempts by Congress to uphold the standards of the Geneva Convention forbidding torture; and the popularization of the use of torture techniques in shows such as 24.

It is part of the Why Democracy? series, which consists of ten documentary films from around the world questioning and examining contemporary democracy. As part of the series, Taxi to the Dark Side was broadcast in over 30 different countries around the world from October 8–18, 2007. The BBC cut the film to 79 minutes for broadcast.

The film is said to be the first film to contain images taken within Bagram Air Base.


The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 28, 2007.[3]

Critical reception and awardsEdit

Taxi to the Dark Side appeared on some critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Premiere magazine named it the fifth best film of 2008[4], and Bill White of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named it the seventh best film of 2008.[4] The film is also scored 100% for critic approval, out of 80 reviews, on Rotten Tomatoes, and is the third highest-rated film in the website's history.[5]

It was named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of 15 films on its documentary feature Oscar shortlist in November 2007.[6][7] On February 24, 2008, in his acceptance speech for the "Best Documentary Feature" Academy Award, Gibney said:

This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light.[8]

Controversies and legal disputesEdit

In June 2007, the Discovery Channel bought the rights to broadcast Taxi to the Dark Side. However, in February 2008, it made public its intention never to broadcast the documentary due to its controversial nature.[9] HBO then bought rights to the film and announced that it would be broadcast in September 2008, after which the Discovery Channel announced it would broadcast Taxi to the Dark Side in 2009.

In June 2008, Gibney's company filed for arbitration, arguing that THINKFilm failed to properly distribute and promote the film.[10][11] He is suing for over a million dollars in damages. Gibney stated that the film has only grossed $280,000.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

de:Taxi zur Hölle

es:Taxi to the Dark Side fr:Un taxi pour l'enfer it:Taxi to the Dark Side nl:Taxi to the Dark Side pt:Taxi to the Dark Side ur:Taxi to the Dark Side