Designated Guilty on DVD and VOD: 5 things to know about the punch movie with Tahar …

Already released on VOD, the uplifting drama Designated Guilty will be available on DVD on November 22. Before discovering the fight for the freedom of a wrongly accused man, here are five things to know about this biopic by Kevin Macdonald.


Captured by the US government, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been held for years in Guantánamo, without trial or charge. At the end of his strength, he discovers two unexpected allies: lawyer Nancy Hollander and his collaborator Teri Duncan.

With tenacity, the two women will confront the relentless system in the name of fair justice. Their controversial plea, along with the evidence uncovered by the formidable military prosecutor, Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Couch, will eventually unmask a conspiracy as vast as it is scandalous.


In Designated Guilty, Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) portrays the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian unjustly imprisoned by the US government in Guantánamo camp for fourteen years, wrongly accused of being involved in the September 11 attacks. A tragic experience that he recounts in writing in his memories The Guantánamo Notebooks in 2015.

This poignant biopic traces his fierce fight for his own survival, and that of his lawyers Nancy Hollander and Teri Duncan for his release. “When we read the Notebooks, we were moved by the story of Mohamedou and surprised by the spirit, the poetry and the wisdom of his writings. […] It is a tremendous source of inspiration. There was material there for a meaningful film, ” says producer Lloyd Levin.


“Lloyd and Bea Levin and Michael Bronner came to my office and we signed the contract for the film rights while Mohamedou was still in prison,” remembers lawyer Nancy Hollander, portrayed on screen by Jodie Foster.

The producers of Shadowplay Features and Curlyhead Films are indeed interested in the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi from 2015, even though the latter is still detained in Guantánamo, and will not be released until the following year, October 17, 2016.

Benedict Cumberbatch, also stunned by the prisoner’s story, also joins the project as a producer, before focusing his interest on the role of Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Couch he plays in the film.

Designated guilty on dvd and vod: 5 things to know about the punch movie with tahar...


To achieve Designated Guilty with authenticity and relevance, Kevin Macdonald was unfortunately not able to travel to Guantánamo as he wanted: “It is very difficult to get permission and I couldn’t,” he explains.

The writers of the film nevertheless relied on in-depth interviews with Mohamedou, his defense lawyers, as well as Stuart Couch on the side of the prosecution. During their research, they were also able to rely on hearing transcripts provided by Nancy Hollander, extensive investigative work on Guantánamo, and interviews with JAG military attorneys, among others.


While filming in South Africa, Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Nancy Hollander visited the cast during a script reading session hosted by Kevin Macdonald in Cape Town. A trip that greatly worried the former detainee, who was not authorized to travel outside his country, but which was nevertheless able to be done.

This first meeting with the cast and his on-screen performer Tahar Rahim was particularly moving for him as for all present. The French actor remembers: “I gave him a hug, and when he started talking, I shut up, looked and listened. What could I have said? This man in front of me was talking about what he had been through with a big smile. He forgave, and that’s what makes him so special, that’s what saved him from insanity ”.

Designated guilty on dvd and vod: 5 things to know about the punch movie with tahar...
Metropolitan FilmExport


Before Designated Guilty, Tahar Rahim and Kevin McDonald had already collaborated together on the Eagle of the Ninth Legion peplum in 2011 with Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland. The French actor played there the role of the prince of the seal people, for whom he notably had to learn to speak ancient Gaelic.

It was therefore a great pleasure for Kevin McDonald to find the actor on this new project: […] he is an incredibly charming and sympathetic person and he has an extremely broad playing register which allows him to embody all the emotions required by this role. It was obvious to me ”.

Discover the punch film Designated Guilty from November 22 on DVD, and now on VOD.

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