The story follows Private Cole (Stewart), a guard at Guantanamo bay's Camp X-ray facility, and her relationship with a detainee named Ali (Peyman Moaadi).
- Catch-22 Dilemma: Ali hasn't done anything wrong, so he should be released. However, the very fact that he's been in Guantanamo means no country will take him in, so he can't be.
- Exact Words: When Cole finds out that Ransdell lied to her to get her to help him with Ali's shower, she attempts to file a complaint against him, as he should not have had a female on such a detail. However, when the base commander asks her about it, she's forced to admit that technically Ransdell didn't order her to do it, so he doesn't get in any trouble.
- Insistent Terminology: "Detainees" not "prisoners". Prisoners can appeal to the Geneva Convention, but detainees cannot.
- Lipstick-and-Load Montage: A Truth in Television version with Cole prepping her hair for the day, a necessary evil for females in the US military who want to keep their hair long.
- Near-Rape Experience: Cole and Ransdell start making out in the bathroom, but she becomes uncomfortable and tries to stop. He tries to force himself on her, but she fends him off, causing him to resent her for the rest of the film.
- Nobody Poops: Averted. Ali douses Cole with a "Shit Cocktail" (a cup full of watered down feces).
- Not So Stoic: Cole finally lets her guard down and opens up to Ali when he attempts suicide.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Ali refers to Cole exclusively as "Blondie" for the majority of the film until she finally reveals her first name: Amy. Odd, considering she's clearly a brunette. (Then again, to people from certain parts of the world, anyone with hair lighter than jet-black might look blonde.)
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Cole initially exhibits some bigotry towards the detainees.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Cole had no idea what Harry Potter was at first.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Cole wears her hair like this, as per military regulations.
- Shout-Out: A plot relevant one in Ali's quest for the last Harry Potter book.
- Single Tear: When Cole leaves Camp X-ray.
- Talking Down the Suicidal: Ali puts a shiv to his throat in the conclusion, despairing over the fact that he'll never be free, and this is his only way out. Cole tries to talk him out of it, but eventually allows him to kill himself if he chooses. He doesn't.