The mark of Cain

Did anyone else watch this last night?
It was the true tale of the torture of iraqi detainees, and resulting court martial of the british soldiers.
I found it to be well acted, disturbing , and moving.............................


Was it a documentary? No, it was a drama and like all such things, 'artistic licence' is taken. Therefore impartiality and accuracy are not important - like phil, I don't watch such things.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Hmm, strange rationale - if it ain't a documentary it can't be true. Especially if it's on that Lefty Channel 4! :? Well I did watch it; facsinating, throught-provoking, and despite being a dramatisation based on true events, probably a lot closer to the truth than many people would want to admit. Of course artistic licence is taken; not to fabricate facts but to make the story more interesting to the viewer - the heart of the story (and therefore the message) still remains the same.

Ken Loach made a dramatic film in the 60s called 'Cathy Come Home' about the breakdown of a young couple's life, resulting in the woman losing her husband, child and eventually her home. Groundbreaking in it's style and content, the film caused an outcry and resulted directly in the foundation of the homeless charity organisation "Shelter".

In the '80s Alan Clarke made the infamous film "Scum" about life in a borstal. Once again the groundbreaking style and content resulted in an outcry about the treatment of young men (and in some cases, boys) in prison, and thanks to public demonstration, resulted in a major reform of YOIs.


War Hero
Well it wasn't a true story, it was based on 'actual events'.

I did get a funny look off the girlfriend though for chuckling at the bit where they made one of the Iraqi prisoners perform oral sex on the other one.

God, I'm a sick bastard. :oops:


I have to say, I wasn't very impressed at all. Lots of bile flying about regarding this on ARRSE regarding accuracy from chaps who've been there and seen it. I'm not in a place to comment about the military accuracy, but was rather less than amused by the way the writer seemed to be far more interested in making cheap points by collating most publicised incidents of prisoner abuse (both british and american) and even fictionalised ones (the urinating scene was strangely remeniscent of the Daily Mirror photos) to show how evil everybody was.

What sympathy there was aimed at the two private soldiers indicted, whilst the lack of understanding in the scripting was very obvious in the depiction of the NCOs and officers - unfeeling automatons rather busy trying to protect themselves and implicate the most junior people possible. This all seems rather at odds with what has happened (and a bit of an indictment of all that careful 'research') - NCOs and officers have been tried (and the army have not been above attacking COs either - Jorge Mendoca and Tim Collins for example). In my view, a far more thought-provoking plot line would have been to explore the lack of trust and faith in soldiers shown by the MoD establishment, and the willingness of HMG to hang people out to dry on scant evidence.

Lastly, I thought the worst parts of it were the throwaway digs at various issues which showed better than any of the main plotlines the anti-army bias of the writing - the little incidences of bullying and abuse amongst the soldiers, and the utterly dreadful scene where one of the privates goes to the doctor looking for psychiatric help and was told to go away because he was attempting to queer the pitch for his trial.

All in all, impressed by neither the 'drama' nor the lack of accuracy which rather belies the apparently 'detailed research'. Come on Channel 4, you can do better than that.

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