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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
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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.
The colour of your skin, your race and ethnic background still invokes suspicion and hatred in the 21st century.
Whether white American or black middle eastern, prejudice abounds.
The human race needs to know people as individuals.
Governments need to ensure that "targets" and meeting "dead lines" are about protection of all individuals, not bullying tactics.
World Governments need individuals in power who are honest, and who care for all citizens of the world, and who care for our mother earth, and who observe and listen.
A very thought provoking film. Should be shown to all 15 year old school pupil/students the world over, in their own language, and be used as a discussion and debate tool. Ther are no easy answers, but there is always opportunity to consider actions.
We all have the responsibility to be the "good" example.
The film is expertly filmed and the accompanying music is so appropriate that you are for the most part sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what is gong to happen next. The acting by all participants is of a high standard and i especially liked the part played by Meryl Streep as the FBI chief, which is totally believable. The wife, who does not know where her husband is, played by Reese Wotherspoon is a good performance without being one of her best adds to the disturbing aspect of the story, while Jake Gyllenhall as the FBI representative abroad is well casted. The other supporting actors are excellent and do not get enough credit for their roles.
It is not an easy film to watch but it is excellent cinema and worthy of viewing even if you are not a political thriller devotee.
The film is about what is only entrenched terrorism in U.S. government officials' work. This came from fresh U.S. legislation "legalising" that persons can be abducted, imprisoned, in being moved abroad by bypassing extradition formalities. And they've been tortured. The U.S.A.'s "Extraordinary Rendition" policy stamps all over any notions of the rule of law, also of a right to trial, also in an international sense, bypassing other nations' involvement. Then, also, U.S. law forbids victims even suing the U.S. state for torture.
Jake Gyllenhall has great moments in this film, but perhaps is not so consistent in it. Reese Witherspoon is the weaker point, not really seeming to fit in with the very real, grounded notion of the film. Sometimes I thought she thought she was in a comic book, unfortunately.
The rest of the acting is really good indeed. Omar Metwally as abductee gives a really amazing performance - a great actor. Peter Sarsgaard plays very well, supported excellently by Alan Arkin as his superior. Meryl Streep is truly very frightening as government chief of torture (as is David Fabrizio), and "can't be bettered". (Interesting that I frequently find Ms. Streep, this actress I loved over 20 yrs ago, frightening anyway in recent years, whether playing well or not.) The rest of the acting, from the more familiar faces, those acting U.S. government representatives, to those less familiar, playing the N African characters is brilliant, with, to me the exception of Yigal Naor.
The U.S.A.'s "Rendition" policy itself, as dispersed throughout it's use, isn't so much commented about in media reportage. It is a big factor in the high profile (though recently less so) Guantanamo Bay camp. It is strange that place dropped from the attention it had since the US Senate voted to keep it, during President Obama's campaign against it. Just who are each of those absolute monsters in power, and why are they allowed by U.S. Citizens to stay there? To me, "Rendition" is necessary (like essential vitamins, though we can survive, barely, for even a few years without some, before dying). I find it necessary to me for actually, yes actually, showing with emotion, in such lucid, deep, rich colour, that this kind of state terrorism is dispersed, and not all Guantanamo Bay (very large and despicable as G.B. is alone).
Considering rendition policy was made to avoid extradition hearings, protocols & procedures, if you think there must be something at least a little fishy there, and wonder if it could lead to all kinds of unacceptable acting, this film shows that such unacceptable acting has been real. Real and, specifically, irreversibly, beyond your wildest nightmares. But no dream. It suggests just what momentous heights of human abuse can and have been reached with "people in power" in the U.S. with, firstly, "leeways" in human rights in legislation. And secondly, anyway, behind the scenes, unreported acting. One supposes these kind of people, and perhaps they are in position in so many departments, are doing it anyway. The abductee in the film lived - we know that people, alleged suspects, have been murdered, tortured to death, subject to these policies.
The visual concept is really well thought out. Cinematography on DVD is pretty amazing throughout. It surely makes me interested in the Blu-Ray film.
In standard definition, the lucid colours were gorgeous, and the detail very good. (I wasn't upscaling). It's great editing & production. The filming is not of landscapes and it's a great achievement to have made such lovely cinematography. I got a very significant sense of the facelessness of the actors, of the personas, as a result - as the vivid, warm, immsersive colour and beautiful, possessing, vibrant detail of life are kind of overriding, suggestive of the nature of real life. This is - this is - this is what is - beyond the specificity of the story, which many can be well equipped to trample on and obscure anyway. It's a story of one, which is as good as a true story, for this one happened in nearly identical ways, but many more times than once.
It seems as if this beautiful cinematography and editing is rendering a kind of essence of characters representations towards the realm of that they don't so much matter, or, perhaps, don't matter, in abstract thought. I don't know if I'm saying this well or correctly. In one sense, it seems I pick up a suggestion that it doesn't matter to some - e.g. U.S. lawmakers and agents - who a person is, who the unique soul of a person is. In another sense, I pick up something converse to that - a higher, artistic suggestion that the sense of each specific character not mattering amongst the artistic tapestry the film weaves is commenting to the beautiful, coloured, alive threads which make up godly truth. The vividly coloured threads are representative of lives, of life, but distinct from the particularity of specific lives. A kind of bird's eye picture of what is, beyond specifity, thus showing that those specific lives were, they really were, and were not in fact made with paintbrushes. And the paintbrushes of camera shot lights show this. As, as well as being a telling of a terrible true story, "Rendition" is artistic craft.
This is very affecting.
There is further a sense of timelessness in beyond this life - such universally situated colour doesn't just die. Like energy, it can't actually stop, but must engender some other energetic form, moving on, but being positive energy always. All beings in the film are seeming to be in the palm, in the grip, of this vibrant colour of the nature of being, of the wound, many coloured strands of the threads of life. Lives are brought here, unchoosing. The colour, the life, is embedded in this universe for while each of those who are living are alive, and that is inextricable (and also beyond choice - definitive and inseparable from who each person is) but temporary.
This story represents any one true story, and so all. It is of a disgusting, diabolical life happening itself which perfectly, from the specific, shows the truth in general of Extraordinary Rendition and similar policies. These have ensured potential suspects in the ridiculous "war against terror" have war and terror brought - against them - without trial. The film highlights that "war, terror, against" is what many in power meant. And also against you, their supposed "subjects", but not just Americans and British, as they know, it's against all life.
The so-called "war against terror": the words are still used by rulers in U.S.A. and U.K. But less so, because they only begin to realise the credibility is gone, or, worse, they calculated to act that way from the outset. Remember 9/11 as the "reason" for a war to kill (est.) 1 million persons and scar & maim for life more in Iraq??? And then the nonsense about Iraqi WMDs??? Lies. Those lies are further USED in this way for what can be nothing other than satanic abuse of humans, on a large scale.
Thousands have been, with no trial whatsoever, kidnapped, detained, tortured over very long periods in ways many confirmed terrorists (i.e. terrorists not masquerading as a bona-fide national government subject to international law) would not stoop to. Those who've really examined, knew that bully is most terrible, but this film makes clear that bully chose in ways to be complex - complexly terrible - also. Mr. Barack Obama within 2 days of gaining presidential office signed an order which suggested it could end Extraordinary Rendition. Yet that specific policy has not ended in spring of 2011, and it remains that citizens of all countries who were victims of abused by it are prevented from suing the U.S. state for being tortured.
I salute the film Rendition for clearly, effectively, very affectingly and absorbingly showing the state brought terrorism by way of Extraordinary Rendition policy. The policy - a national "law" pertaining to the international that is and could only be illegal in international law - remains and must be brought down. As Guantanamo Bay and the rest of those camps must be ended.
Absorbing, atmospheric, morally challenging, and seemingly very realistic, with good perfomances by all the cast. I also liked the fact that it was (IMO) neither pro or anti American per se, both sides are portrayed without glamour (and both can be condemned). I think you could also argue that there is no "good guy" which spoils many a film.
I love films with twists in the tale that you don't see coming, and this had one that I have never seen before (not saying it hasn't been done elsewhere, but I've not seen it).
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