Saturday 7 January 2012

Rendition (2007) - Gavin Hood

Rendition: A US law for the handing over of people or property from one jurisdiction to another.  For criminals, this is normally extradition.  In Rendition, this law is translated into the unorthodox interrogation of an Egyptian-American for potential information on suspected terrorists following a terrorist bombing.

What's so commendable about the film is its unbiased view of US-Middle East relations.  The film juxtaposes the good and the bad from both sides - a wife desperately seeking to save her husband and CIA agents operating with extreme prejudice; Islamic extremists and innocent victims caught up in terrorist behaviour.  The result is that it is 'Rendition' itself under question and the maltreatment and malpractice involved in the war against terrorism, rather than taking a political side.  The various narrative threads interweave into a complex, thought-provoking plot that has you questioning your own prejudices and political allegiances.  The final scenes remain open ended - what information did the prisoner know?  Was he in fact a terrorist?  It's left to you to decide.

The film isn't based on a true story but is extremely realistic, using real practices for a harrowing experience.  The fact that this could so easily happen, and does, is frightening.  It's further highlighted by some great performances by a wealth of Hollywood talent - Jake Gyllenhaal, Reece Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Peter Sarsgaard included.  Topical and intelligently produced, Hood's film is sure to get you thinking.