Taxi to the Dark Side examines the USA’s policy on torture
and interrogation in general, specifically the CIA’s use of torture
and their research into sensory deprivation
. The film includes opposition to the use of torture from its political and military opponents, as well as the defense of such methods; attempts by Congress to uphold the standards of the Geneva Convention
forbidding torture; and 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.
Reception and awards
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,
and Bill White of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
named it the seventh best film of 2008.
The film also scored 100% for critic approval, out of 91 reviews, on Rotten Tomatoes, and is the third highest-rated film in the website’s history.
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.
Controversies and legal disputes
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.
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.
He is suing for over a million dollars in damages. Gibney stated that the film has only grossed $280,000.