Sunday, June 21, 2009

RENDITION

Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep,
Adam Arkin, Omar Metwally, Peter Sarsgaard


"What if someone you love ... just disappeared?"


HBO



Extraordinary Rendition is the official term that refers to the transporting to a secret detention cell in a foreign country of anyone suspected of being a terrorist. The suspect is then subject to extreme forms of interrogation like torture to extricate any vital intelligence to secure the protection of the citizens of the United States. But when confronted by anybody who demands about it, the government naturally denies everything. Even claiming that they don't sanction torture of any kind.

In the film, Anwar (Omar Metwally) an American of Egyptian heritage is 'abducted' and flown to an unknown destination. His wife (Reese Witherspoon) isn't informed of his whereabouts and seeks the help of Adam (Peter Sarsgaard) her ex-classmate who now works for a Senator (Adam Arkin).

The setting of the film flip flops between Washington D.C and an unnamed city in Northern Africa. There is a developing side plot about a pair of young teenagers caught in the struggle of Mideast violence. The standard Arabic music irritatingly lingers wherever the setting was in the Middle East.

The pacing was varied. It was a bit dragging with scenes of a pleading wife. Peppered with violent scenes of torture and disturbing angles of young men being indoctrinated with the tenets of what it means to be a suicide bomber. It is only towards the end that the pace picks up. You realize you have been subject to flashbacks intertwined within the current development of the plot.

The cast were mostly subdued in their acting. Especially Reese Witherspoon who in my opinion seemed too stoic for someone whose husband has suddenly vanished. And Jake Gyllenhaal was a bit wooden in his portrayal of a novice CIA analyst assigned to assist in the torture of the suspected terrorist. But thankfully they are ably supported by Meryl Streep and Peter Sarsgaard in small yet significant roles.

This political themed film had a stellar cast yet the storyline didn't quite deliver. It had the feel of a TV film of the week. Another run of the mill movie that explains the clandestine methods the only remaining superpower nation would resort to for the protection of its citizens. I figure the only good thing that came about from this film is the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal met Reese Witherspoon and they are now a couple. Heh!

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