Critics on Kristen Stewart in ‘Camp X-Ray’: Another ‘Stone-Faced Performance’

Critics on Kristen Stewart in ‘Camp X-Ray’: Another ‘Stone-Faced Performance’

On Oct. 11, The Daily Beast released an article entitled “The Resurrection of Kristen Stewart” in which Stewart commented on the alleged mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba while promoting her newest film, Camp X-Ray.

The following day, Breitbart News reported on Stewart’s alarming statements in an article entitled “Kristen Stewart Trashes the Military, Defends 9/11 Terrorists in ‘Camp X-Ray’ Interview” that was subsequently shared by Fox Nation and later discussed on Fox News’ Red Eye program.

The author of the original Daily Beast article went to great lengths to defend the actress and retaliated with another piece, “The Right-Wing Crusade Against KStew: How Fear Factories Like Breitbart and Fox Distort News.” These are the words that were allegedly distorted: 

The Daily Beast: Right. The mistake we make is not viewing these detainees down there as people, too. We’re all people. 

Kristen Stewart: That is essentially so f*cking evil, it’s crazy. It’s a ridiculous idea for you to think that you know anything for sure in life–other than to take care of your fellow people. Where the f*ck do you get off thinking otherwise? These two people couldn’t be from more different worlds and perspectives, and probably disagree fundamentally on most things, but there’s a through-line for all of us–and that’s what people forget, and that’s what makes people capable of doing terrible things to each other. What makes you different from any other person that walks the earth? 

Aside from Stewart’s naive comments about the war on terror ahead of Camp X-Ray‘s release, there seems to be more hype surrounding the low budget movie. First-time writer-director Peter Sattler is now receiving constructive criticism over what he could have done differently to produce a more effective film.

Camp X-Ray, which debuted on Oct. 17, illustrates the life of a young woman named Amy Cole who escapes the restraints of her small town in Florida to join the United States Army. Pvt. Cole hopes to do a tour in Iraq but is assigned to Gitmo as a prison guard instead.

Upon Pvt. Cole’s arrival to the detention camp, she develops an “odd friendship” with a suspected terrorist called Ali Amir. She then finds conforming to the standards of a U.S. soldier increasingly difficult. 

It’s important to note that the actors are not being blamed for all of Camp X-Ray‘s shortcomings. Rather, blame is cast upon Sattler for not providing enough depth to the script, so his cast members could deliver bona fide performances.

Alonso Duralde, lead movie critic for The Wrap, stressed that the concept of a U.S female soldier bonding with a detainee at Gitmo is an attention-getter and “works as a pitch,” but the actual story never unfolds.

Camp X-Ray has a great idea behind it — a young female soldier assigned guard duty a Guantanamo Bay forms a kinship with one of the incarcerated Muslims — but first-time writer-director Peter Sattler doesn’t go anywhere interesting with that notion,” Duralde explained. 

Furthermore, Stewart’s interior acting style seemingly paid off in Camp X-Ray, but not enough to serve as a breakthrough role in her acting career.

“Playing a soldier means a great deal of emotional restraint, which means another very internal, frequently stone-faced performance from Stewart. She’s effective and empathetic, but it’s not the sort of work that takes her too far from her Twilight wheelhouse,” he continued.

Montgomery J. Granger, author of Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior, told Breitbart News how filmmakers could have approached the project with more authenticity. Sattler’s idea to use a fictitious story projects the U.S. Army in a bad light, according to Granger.

“It’s disappointing. Nothing against KStew, but she plays a U.S. Army Military Police soldier who doesn’t keep her oath to follow all lawful orders, befriends a detainee (which is fraternization and against her orders), and she is sexually assaulted in the film. All made up,” said Granger. 

Granger was the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group 160 at Gitmo from February to June, 2002 and acted as a caretaker to the detainees at Gitmo in the wake of 9/11. 

“They could have explored the humanity of Gitmo using a real story… but chose instead to use complete fiction. Lost opportunity. I think if you’re going to approach a historical subject, you have an obligation to SEEK TRUTH, not make it up,” he continued. 

Los Angeles Times movie critic Betsy Sharkey, who reviews around 200 films a year, wrote that a “locked-down soldier” is a good fit for Stewart’s range of character. She called the film “flawed” and said the ending is “too ludicrous for words.”

“As to Sattler, though he stumbles in this first outing, at times mightily–the ending is too ludicrous for words–he makes room for Stewart and Moaadi to build a different narrative than we’re used to in the war on terror. One that allows a little understanding to creep in,” she wrote. 

Following the release of Camp X-Ray, the overly happy” Stewart told USA Today that she’s taking a break from acting. Over the next several months, she will simply be “Kristen the person” and won’t consider reading a single script. Hopefully, Stewart will stick to acting in teenage vampire thrillers and will not pursue a career in politics.

Camp X-Ray is rated-R, has a running time of 158 minutes, and grossed $1,316 over its opening weekend.


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