The unjustly unheralded work of director Michael Winterbottom.

The joy of blockbusters.
June 15 2010 9:44 AM

The Real Deal

The unjustly unheralded Michael Winterbottom blurs the line between fiction and documentary.

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So good has Winterbottom become at channeling the rush and purr of humanity, in fact, I find some of his sequences are now lodged in my mind less like bits of film and more like memories. I'm not crazy: In 2006, members of the cast of Road to Guantanamo were detained by British authorities at Luton Airport upon returning from the Berlin Film Festival and interrogated, asked whether they intended to appear in any more "political" films. The following year Judea Pearl, Daniel's father, worried in the pages of the New Republic that A Mighty Heart played into the "hands of professional obscurers of moral clarity," because it refers to Guantanamo as one of the motivations of Pearl's murderers. An unfair charge, but it shows—as does Jessica Alba's walkout—that Winterbottom's realities are starting to transcend their artifice.

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You can read James Verini's other work at www.jamesverini.com.