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A fictional story inspired by true events, REDACTED is a unique cinematic experience that will force viewers to radically reconsider the filters through which we see and accept events in our world, the power of the mediated image and how presentation and composition influence our ideas and beliefs. A profound meditation on the way information is packaged, distributed and received in an era with infinite channels of communication, REDACTED utilizes a variety of created source material--video diaries, produced documentary, surveillance footage, online testimonials, news pieces--to comment on the extreme disconnect between the surface of an image and the reality of ideas and the truth, especially in times of strife. Centered around a small group of American soldiers stationed at a checkpoint in Iraq, REDACTED alternates points of view, balancing the experiences of these young men under duress and members of the media with those of the local Iraqi people, illuminating how each have been deeply affected by the current conflict and their encounters with each other. The charged apotheosis of Brian De Palma's filmmaking career, REDACTED caps off a body of work which has explored the politics of image-making and reception more fully than any living filmmaker.
Brian De Palmas ferocious Redacted is one of a number of cinematic protests against the Iraq War and the withholding of information and images about the war from the U.S. public. But it is also shares De Palmas perennial interest in the relationship between film and violence, a relationship that has changed significantly in the real world because of the Internet, cable news, and the ubiquity of camcorders on the ground in Iraq. In a world more intent than ever on watching everything, De Palma has fashioned Redacted to look like a daisy chain of found footage taken from disparate sources. These include an American soldiers video journal (which, not insignificantly, is also supposed to be that soldiers audition piece for film school), a French documentary, a security camera at the edge of an army compound, and streaming video online from insurgents and military families alike. Taken together, Redacted recreates the kind of Iraq War scenes weve heard about for years: soldiers kidnapped or felled by booby traps, pregnant women and children shot by American guards at military checkpoints because Iraqi drivers misunderstand orders, etc. With mood and setting firmly established, Redacted then tells the story of an atrocity ripped from headlines in 2006: the rape and murder of an Iraqi teen, as well as the murder of her family, by American soldiers who then proceed to cover up their crime. Meanwhile, other soldiers, well-meaning witnesses to what happened, implode with doubt and uncertainty about what to do. In a way, Redacted is really about the paralysis of ordinary Americans confronted by the horror of our collective misjudgment about Iraq. It's a work of fiction using actors, meaning that De Palma employs a verisimilitude which sometimes doesnt sit well with anyone who has seen a lot of Iraq War documentaries featuring real troops and real Iraqis. But De Palma is trying to do something very difficult, i.e., make the case that in war, truth really is the first casualty. --Tom Keogh
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Top customer reviews
But, here is the real sadness: I gather this was a dramatization of an actual event, an atrocity, really. That's a story that needs to be told, but accurately. The problem with a dramatization like this is that it is impossible to tell what is a true depiction and what is author's license. If a film cannot separate fact from fiction, it is not worth watching, in my opinion. I'd like to see this re-made though. We need to see stories like this, but we also need to have some certainty that they are securely based on reality. A documentary format would have been more believable and in the end credible. Brian De Palma has not made a decent film in decades. Do not watch this because of his name, it is one of his worst works, and that is saying something.