Socialist Worker

A 'post-truth' thriller that makes for uneasy viewing

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2669

Suspicion and surveillance

Suspicion and surveillance


The capture is a thriller made for the “post truth” era.

Soldier Shaun Emery, played by Callum Turner, has just got out of prison. He’s been convicted of the murder of a wounded Taliban fighter, all caught on helmet camera.

Similarities with the real-life case of Alexander Blackman—the soldier who actually did kill a wounded, unarmed Taliban fighter—are unmistakable.

Emery gets off. The video evidence was dodgy. But soon he’s accused of yet another violent crime—and yet again the evidence is footage he says doesn’t show the truth.

The vision of society here is one full of technology that monitors and records almost everything we do. From the facial recognition software in police monitoring suites, to a games console in a child’s bedroom.

All of it can be used to catch us out, trip us up—or misrepresent us.

There’s a feeling of unease, growing into distrust and paranoia, right from the very beginning. The constant suggestion that nothing is what it appears to be on the surface asks us to pay close attention.

What was on that email on the detective Rachel Carey’s computer screen, for instance?

By the time we take notice, it’s already gone.

Soon we start to scrutinise and second guess everything on screen and, eventually, our own interpretation.

The programme tries to show how false representation is used to skew our interpretation.

But it also starts to ask a question. Can technology and surveillance ever be trusted to give a clear objective version of truth when it’s presentation and interpretation that matters?

Celebrating his release, and surrounded by his mates, Emery realises that all of them still think he murdered the Afghan fighter. This is a show that demands constant scepticism.


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Reviews
Wed 28 Aug 2019, 10:57 BST
Issue No. 2669
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