Review: Jim: The James Foley Story (Brian Oakes, 2016)

Sometimes, the best way to reclaim an image is to remove it from the picture completely. Via an opening title card, Brian Oakes’ documentary Jim: The James Foley Story states outright that it will not feature the culminating moments of the video that spawned this film’s creation.

That video, which travelled the world in 2014, is the means by which many first came to know the acronym ISIS. In it, kneeling, kidnapped American conflict journalist James Foley, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, is forced to recite ISIS propaganda against a backdrop of desert somewhere in Syria, as a hooded executioner stands to his side, before eventually beheading the man. Oakes, an old family friend, is, above all, making a concerted effort to reclaim the life of James Foley; to highlight the human being, take his death and transform it into more than a tool of terrorism…

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