There’s a plethora of on demand video out there these days. So much so that sometimes it can be hard to wade through it all and find something worth watching. Watch This Now is your guide to instant video on Netflix, Hulu and elsewhere, highlighting the very best stuff that you can watch right now.
One of my top 15 movies of last year was Standard Operating Procedure, the documentary in which Errol Morris used photos and interviews to investigate malfeasance at Abu Ghraib prison. The film has a distinct visual style based in Morris’s use of the Interrotron, oblique recreations and a presentation of on-site photos that is a bit like seeing the bullet-time tech from The Matrix slowed down and applied to documentary. A fantastic Danny Elfman score pulls the presentation together into an idiosyncratic piece of cinema that is both frank and slightly more than real.
Morris has an amazing talent for getting shockingly frank revelations out of his interview subjects, and I guarantee you’ll hear and see displays from all the participants in the Abu Ghraib scandal that will surprise and stun.
I still have vague reservations about the overall construction of the film. Taken as a single piece of work, it’s not as powerful as Fog of War. But you can’t consider yourself informed about this particular aspect of our intervention in Iraq without coming to terms with the first-hand accounts here. It’s not that people like Lynndie England are exonerated, but these interviews provide a perspective on the Abu Ghraib abuses that makes them easier to understand, which in turn almost makes them more horrifying.
Netflix added Standard Operating Procedure to the instant viewing list this week; it’s just about the best two hours you can spend with streaming video this evening.