Anatomy of a Terrorist

DIRECTOR

Anthony Wonke

Network

HBO

Soundtrack

  • Vulnerable Young Men

About the project

From Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s The Battle for Marjah), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj.

Nominated at BAFTA Awards
Nominated at EMMY Awards

Year 2020

This feature documentary tells the inside story behind the hunt for ISIS poster boy “Jihadi John” by the US and British military and intelligence services. It interrogates the twisted worldview espoused by ISIS – the richest and most notorious Islamist terrorist organisation in history – and its propaganda machine which was operated by “Jihadi millennials” who turned social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube into recruitment platforms. This is the definitive story about the formation and collapse of ISIS as a “state”, told through extraordinary first-hand accounts of key counter-terrorism and intelligence officialscheck out the soundtrack 

Score Example – Manhunt

The music needed to capture the rawness of Jihadi John’s maneuvers, it needed to have an organic sound, yet support the narrative of the ever-enclosing military.

The lead instrument that opens this scene are old metal buckets that were played with sticks and mallets.

Cello soloist Peter Gregson (‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’) was asked to play the main theme multiple times, with the instrument going ever so slowly out of tune which provided the music with a somber undertone that was then enhanced further with analogue effects.

Some impressions

Press

HBO

“It’s a film about the transformation of a young man, Mohammed Emwazi, who went on to become notorious ISIS executioner Jihadi John.””

the full review

LA Weekly

“A British citizen who enjoyed a privileged upbringing in London, Emwazi became the world’s most wanted ISIS terrorist … Director Anthony Wonke traverses this difficult subject matter with eyes wide open and moral compass finely tuned.”

the full review