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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A stunning ‘Rendition’

    Rendition follows Isabellas (Reese Witherspoon) hunt for her husband Anwar after he disappeared from a flight. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a CIA analyst who has to interrogate Anwar.
    ‘Rendition’ follows Isabella’s (Reese Witherspoon) hunt for her husband Anwar after he disappeared from a flight. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a CIA analyst who has to interrogate Anwar.

    This past weekend at the box office was a lively one, to say the least. A record eight new films were released in Tucson, presenting virtually every moviegoer with an opportunity to see something of interest.

    Regardless of cinematic interests, “”Rendition”” is a film everyone should see. The latest project from relatively new director Gavin Hood – his film “”Tsotsi”” won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film – is a political thriller about a man unjustly suspected of being a terrorist. “”Rendition”” is a gripping portrait of the terrifyingly brutal realities of modern-day interrogation practices.

    It is difficult to determine which single aspect of “”Rendition”” makes it so compelling. A definite source of dramatic intrigue is the chilling performance by Omar Metwally (“”Munich””), who plays Anwar El-Ibrahimi, the aforementioned suspected terrorist.

    “”Rendition””
    Rated R – 120 mins.
    Universal

    Starring Reese Witherspoon
    and Jake Gyllenhaal

    Metwally’s acting is flawless, transitioning effortlessly from a submissive, innocent chemical engineer to a defiant, challenging prisoner. However, it is when El-Ibrahimi is cowering in his cell, sobbing and shivering from a lack of clothes, that it truly becomes difficult to draw one’s eyes away from the screen.

    Metwally’s is not the only memorable performance, though. Meryl Streep is superb as ruthlessly arrogant Corrine Whitman, the CIA agent responsible for imprisoning El-Ibrahimi. Yigal Naor effortlessly embodies both sides of his character, Abasi Fawal, who in addition to being a cunning interrogator is also a loving family man.

    Yet acting is nothing without good writing, and Kelley Sane’s screenplay is stellar. It is no easy task to intertwine three different plot lines without confusing people, and it is even more difficult to create interest in all of them. Each of the plot lines in the film are crucial to the final product, and – unlike in a majority of films with multiple plot lines – none of them are superfluous or used simply for filler. The script is intricately woven to connect not only the characters but also the audience to the harsh reality that is a consequence of our war-mongering society.

    Perhaps the aspect of “”Rendition”” that is the most horrific is that it is more fact than fiction. The practice of extraordinary rendition, enacted by the Clinton administration in 1995, is basically the transport of prisoners to third-party countries where torture is allowed. The use of rendition escalated after the 9/11 attacks and is still a commonly used practice.

    The quality of a movie is normally based on its ability to engage and move the audience. “”Rendition”” not only educates but also entertains. It’s largely based in reality and offers a shockingly honest look at the truth about the War on Terror.

    There are a lot of action scenes, and though the plot is slow-moving at times, it picks up very quickly. While not as entertaining as, say, “”The Comebacks,”” “”Rendition”” is a rare find. It calls to attention a previously unacknowledged truth about the War on Terror but simultaneously keeps you watching because you care about the characters, not the politics. It is both relevant and rousing, and overall the film is fantastic.

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