Sundance: Kristen Stewart's Guantanamo Bay Drama ‘Camp X-Ray’ Draws Warm Response, Partial Standing-O

Sundance: Kristen Stewart's Guantanamo Bay Drama 'Camp X-Ray' Draws Warm Response, Partial Standing-O

The “Twilight” star had previously been in festival competition with middling “The Runaways”

Kristen Stewart‘s return to Sundance with “Camp X-Ray” was looking like a success — at least initially — as festivalgoers began to tweet positive things about her starring turn in the Guantanamo Bay drama that premiered midday Friday to a partial standing ovation at the cavernous Eccles Theater in Park City.

“I think Kristen Stewart thrives in realistic material. She's recognizable, human in Camp X-ray. Movie demanded it,” tweeted freelance film reporter and reviewer Matt Patches.

The film, written by first-time feature director Peter Sattler (above, left), follows Amy (Stewart), a solider who's assigned to prison guard duty at Guantanamo Bay, where she befriends an inmate (played by “A Separation” star Payman Maadi, above right). Sattler has said that Stewart had a lot of input on the character and script, which was shot at a juvenile prison outside of Los Angeles.

The Q&A that followed focused as much on the film's music and the preparation and performance by Maadi, who many in attendance believed outshined his better-known co-star. And Stewart did little in “Camp X-Ray” to dispel the main knock on her acting — that she essentially wears the same pouty expression in every situation — though considering that she plays an emotionally conflicted military grunt in this one, it seemed to work.

Caught between her compassion for the inmates and her duty to guard and stay guarded, Stewart is inscrutable; a cipher with pulled-back hair.

“We don't know anything about her,” she said. “Hopefully its transmitted somehow without details. We talked all the time about this girl.”

See photos: 18 Must-See Movies at Sundance (Photos)

“Camp X-Ray” is in U.S. competition in Park City, where Stewart flew in from Los Angeles on Thursday to attend the premiere. But K-Stew is no Sundance newbie: She came to Park City in 2010 for the premiere of “The Runaways,” in which she played rocker Joan Jett, and has attended other years without a film in competition.

Also read: Kristen Stewart Lines Up Two Indies: ‘American Ultra’ With Jesse Eisenberg, Tim Blake Nelson's ‘Anesthesia’


Stewart's post “Twilight” career has been mixed; her performance as the moody Marylou in Walter Salles’ “On the Road” was generally well-received, but her blockbuster followup “Snow White in the Huntsman” was less so: TheWrap critic Alonso Duralde wrote that “Even swaddled in armor and chain mail, it's hard to imagine this blank-faced debutante stirring an army to follow her to Forever 21, much less to battle against a powerful necromancer.”

Also read: Liberty Ross Opens Up About Husband's Kristen Stewart Affair: ‘It Was Horrible’

Reactions were mixed among the Twitterati streaming out of the Eccles on Friday afternoon:






  • spookywhite

    Would be curious to know who were the Military/GITMO Technical Advisors to Stewart and Co. They should get some love too. If the atmosphere ain't right, they're gonna get called on it.

    • factchecker

      It was actually a company of past military members who train actors for military roles. They said that Kristen was the hardest working, most dedicated person they've ever trained.

  • tko22

    oh Josh: “at least initially”? I'm so sad you hate Kristen so much that you can't give her a win when she deserves it.

  • factchecker

    It's actually Kristen's seventh Sundance, and she came with a film each time previously. js

  • Diana

    Ah Josh, by partial standing ovation did you mean 50%, 60%, 70%….? Did you actually survey the massive Eccles Theatre and saw that not everybody was standing up although they were all applauding? I'm sure the cast and crew and the director were really thrilled with the warm response and the applause whether they were standing or not.
    KUDOS TO THE CAMP XRAY TEAM OF FILMMAKERS AND THE ENTIRE CAST AND CREW!!! Kristen, you are one hell of an actor and artist. Ditto to Payman.

  • Nate Blank

    Of the four people in the above picture Kristen looks the most likely to be into girls.

    • factchecker

      And so? What if she was? You saying that's a bad thing?

      • Nate Blank

        You don't know me very well.

  • Lu

    It appears that everyone outside of The Wrap liked Kristen's performance. Between the snarky article written by Dickey and Shaw appears to be a far cry from what the other tweeters wrote. Everyone except Shaw, liked Kristen's performance. Sounds very biased and not professional.

  • Caro

    From Hollywood Life to Variety everyone has raved about Kristen Stewart's performance in “Camp X-Ray” and among all the comments included in this article only one was remotely negative so why is this article so unflattering to Stewart? Do authors Dickey and Shaw have some sort of unprofessional bias against the actress? Pretty pathetic, boys! Kristen Stewart deserves congratulations for her outstanding performance in this film rather than your particular brand of pettiness!

  • Alibaba

    Whenever I see criticism of Kristen's acting it's always the same – her limited range. Why can't people just accept that about her? Stop trying to make fetch happen.

  • Ollie

    Oh well, it was pretty much a given she'd get shit reviews…she usually does haha. Ignore the twihards, they think their kristen stewart, it's weird, but they have nothing else:P

    • Lee

      1 half-way shit review. She got great reviews by other, more respected critics….the movie, however, didn't get all great reviews. Do some research and not read only 1 article before you write. Twi-hards are crazy, for sure, but give credit when it's due. And it seems, for people who only seen her in twilight and snow white, have no idea what the fuck they are saying.

    • Guest

      Which shit reviews? Literally have not seen one negative review of her performance. Not one. Please link all the reviews you refer to. Thx