"Painfully stark yet utterly magnetic," begins Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times, "You Don't Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantánamo presents excerpts from the 2003 interrogation of the 16-year-old Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen accused of killing an American soldier during a firefight in an Afghan village. Working from seven hours of recently declassified tapes, the Montreal-based filmmakers Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez have assembled an even-tempered glimpse behind a very dark curtain."
Glenn Heath Jr in Slant: "Countless documentaries have walked down this road before, dissecting America's dark and unethical dealings in the name of national security, most notably Michael Winterbottom's The Road to Guantánamo, Laura Poitras's The Oath, and Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure. But what sets You Don't Like the Truth apart from these other, more accomplished films is its subject's age: Omar was the youngest detainee at Guantánamo at 16. Labeled a terrorist by his captors and a 'child soldier' by the Canadian lawyers trying to free him, the thin red line between the two doesn't seem to matter throughout Omar's archived interrogations."
"[T]he cruddy images from Gitmo often share a split-screen with Khadr's former cellmates and torturers, family members, lawyers, psychiatrists, and reporters as they watch the incompetent interviewing," writes Melissa Anderson in the Voice. "'It's like they're salesmen whose jobs are on the line,' says Dennis Edney, one of Khadr's two civilian attorneys, aptly summing up the evil of banality…. These nonsensical bureaucrats provide an adjunct service to a brutal, extralegal US system, one whose preferred methods of questioning have left scars and holes all over Khadr's body."
"At best, Omar's is a case of a very young terrorist-in-training who did not receive adequate due process of law," writes Rachel Chu at Cinespect. "At worst, Omar was a child who was placed by his father in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result, he was captured, repeatedly tortured both physically and psychologically, denied proper medical care and held in a 'legal black hole' for nine years. What must lie on the other side of the scale to justify the risk of such a catastrophic injustice?
Overall, You Don't Like the Truth is "a waking nightmare of passive-aggressive coercion and psychological abuse," writes David Fear in Time Out New York. It's a film that "raises enough questions about the ends justifying the means during an era of endless war that it earns the right to be called essential viewing."
At Film Forum in New York through Tuesday; check the site for further screenings.
Update, 9/29: Some "sequences reminded me of a phrase spoken in Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," writes Anthony Kaufman: "'We listened as his soul cracked.' … It's a vivid reminder of what went wrong—and continues to go wrong—with the West's 'War on Terror.'"