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Tense political thriller spanning two continents. Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal), a CIA analyst working in North Africa, starts to question his assignment when he witnesses the brutal interrogation of an Egyptian-American by secret North African police. When Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwalley), an Egyptian-American chemical engineer whose family emigrated to the United States when he was a boy, is suspected of a terrorist act, his pregnant wife, Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), does everything she can to find him when he seemingly disappears during a flight from South Africa to Washington, D.C. She enlists the help of an old college friend, Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard), an aide to Senator Hawkins (Alan Arkin), who uncovers the shocking fact that Anwar has been shipped off to a third-world country for interrogation on the orders of Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep), the CIA's head of the anti-terrorism unit. Isabella and Douglas team up to try to secure Anwar's release from a secret detention facility somewhere in the Middle East.
A politically-charged, compelling drama, Rendition sees director Gavin Hood follow up the extraordinary, Oscar-winning Tsotsi with another challenging, quality piece of cinema. This time, his attention focuses on the story of a man who is kidnapped, and shipped off to be imprisoned abroad. The reason? Suspected terrorism. And his wife has no idea where he is and what's happened.
In lesser hands, Rendition could have really struggled to make its mark, but Hood very much knows what he's doing, and his film is excellent, right up to--and including--its final reel. His cast help him immensely, with Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep offering terrific support to the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Rendition does have some problems. Its pace sometimes wavers a little, some of the roles are slighter than you'd like, and sometimes the American-based elements pull the film back. But these are minor gripes that seem unfair to level at an ambitious drama, that is fearless about addressing issues of morality. Tightly woven on the whole, and sticking in your head long after the end credits have rolled, Rendition is intelligent film-making, that pulls very few punches. Those after an action feast are clearly advised to head in the other direction; those looking for a film to engage the brain are very much welcome, and set to be richly rewarded. --Jon Foster --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The torture scenes are indescribably horrific but I suppose they needed to make the film as graphically `real' as possible. What I found most disturbing is that the incident that happened in the film has probably happened to countless people. The only part of the film which I found unbelievable was the ending; I sincerely doubt that there is a `light at the end of the tunnel' in reality.
The film was well-casted and the acting was so powerful, I needed to remind myself that I was watching a film and not a documentary.
"Rendition" is a fine attempt at a middle ground between the liberals' criticism of violent American internment policies and the conservatives' feelings of fear that militant Islamic extremists will likewise use violence whenever they can. On balance, it comes down more on the side of scepticism where internment is concerned. We are shown that tortured people (Omar Metwally's character) will say anything to escape, and the implication here is that the effectiveness of torture is questionable. However, we also hear (from Meryl Streep's character) that the extraction of information in this way has saved thousands of lives in London. So there you have it: the two different perspectives in conflict. Clearly it's hard to pin down right and wrong in absolute terms, and the film is certainly food for thought for anyone who has already come out in one corner or the other. The film's a definite improvement on the aforementioned efforts of 2006, though we can certainly hope for perspectives to balance still further.
Meanwhile El-Ibrahimi's wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) is fighting to find out where the government have taken her husband and what is happening to him, but she is stone walled.
Superb performances from all main and supporting actors. At the current price of 3GBP it is a bit cheaper than most rental places. Very good VFM
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, thanks to Donnie Darko, Prisoners and Nightcrawler in particular. Meryl Streep carries off ruthless, cold US official brilliantly like she did in the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ozymandias
Beutifully put together film where the story develops in layers. Haunting soundtrack.Published 8 months ago by Melissa
Saw this in Morocco a few weeks ago ! fell a sleep but thought might as well get it as it looked fairly interesting ?? Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr A P Beattie
This is a decent movie, and a worrying one too. A married Egyptian man living in America does not return from a business trip to North Africa and is held, questioned and tortured... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bear
One of those films that when they came out I had not seen but now I have I am glad that I watched it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by A. D. Gherson
Very good movie! In light of the recent report about the CIA's use of torture, this movie couldn't have portrayed it any better. Great cast too! Read morePublished 19 months ago by everywhere and nowhere