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Posted October 1, 2010
Rendition: an unfortnuate new word to add to our sense of shame
RENDITION accomplishes a lot in presenting a story that is tough to watch, tougher to believe, and for all that is a tremendously involving and electrifying movie. It is definitely a message film but that message is delivered by a smart script, a compassionate director, and a dream cast. But first the word rendition: according to the dictionary, "In law, rendition is a "surrender" or "handing over" of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another. For criminal suspects, extradition is the most common type of rendition. Rendition can also be seen as the act of handing over, after the request for extradition has taken place." For many this may not be news, but for those who are not privy to our Intelligence games, the concept is a terrifying one. For this film Kelley Sane has provided director Gavin Hood with a script that examines the horrors of rendition and in doing so the two have created a story we simply cannot ignore. Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) is an Egyptian-born American working in South Africa as the film begins: his very pregnant wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) awaits his return home but when Anwar doesn't appear at the airport, the enigma begins. Anwar has been taken prisoner in Egypt where he is tortured and interrogated for information by the cruel Abasi Fawal (Yigal Naor) while a reluctant CIA investigator Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) stands by, the two attempting to extract secrets to be provided to the USA: behind the scenes in Washington DC the extraordinary rendition is piloted by Intelligence expert Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep). Isabella attempts to uncover the truth of her missing husband's whereabouts and involves an old friend (Peter Sarsgaard) to help her. Nothing goes well, not in the US or in Egypt, where the interrogator Abasi discovers the evil that is brewing within his own family. It is Isabella's persistence, Anwar's endurance, and the ultimate heroism of Douglas Freeman that allow the resolution to the nightmare. The cast is uniformly strong, the grim realities of the torture chambers are almost unbearable to watch, and the in-our-face discovery of how our Intelligence system works (especially since 911) is terrifying. Added to the DVD is a short film about two men who talk about personal experiences with 'rendition'. It is a kick in the gut and demands action from the viewer to become an activist in preventing the continuation of these tactics. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.