Absorbing but Unbalanced
Release Date: October 19, 2007
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese
Witherspoon, Meryl Streep,
Omar Metwally, Igal Naor,
Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin,
Zineb Oukach, and Moa Khouas
Genre: Political Thriller
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 122 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: Gavin Hood
Executive Producer: Toby Emmerich, Keith Goldberg,
David Kanter, Keith Redmon,
Michael Sugar, Edward
Milstein, Bill Todman, Jr.,
and Paul Schwake
Producer: Steve Golin and Marcus Viscidi
Writer: Kelley Sane
Address Comments To:Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 354-1824
In the story, Anwar, the Egyptian husband of an American woman is arrested immediately when he returns from overseas. The CIA has traced phone calls from a known Egyptian terrorist to Anwar’s cell phone. They immediately ship Anwar back to Egypt for interrogation by Abasi Fawal, the head of a secret prison, while a CIA agent, Douglas Freeman, watches. Abasi has troubles of his own. His rebellious daughter, Fatima, has fallen in love with Khalid, a young Muslim being groomed as an Islamic terrorist.
While Abasi tortures Anwar with electric shocks, Anwar’s pregnant wife, Isabella, travels to Washington, D.C. to get help finding her husband. She enlists the help of a politically connected college friend, but the CIA’s head of anti-terrorism stonewalls their efforts, even though Anwar’s innocence is becoming more and more clear.
RENDITION is very well directed by Gavin Hood of HOTEL RWANDA, despite an abundance of major characters. The script has a nifty unexpected twist at the end that elevates it above some other recent thriller scripts. The only phony note comes surprisingly from Meryl Streep, who turns in a superficial, one-dimensional performance as the CIA anti-terrorism chief. Her melodramatic performance upsets the political balance the movie sometimes tries to hold.
Though it shows the Islamic terrorist leaders to be evil cowards, RENDITION shows the American government involved in shady affairs, including torture. It also suggests that killing Islamic radicals and terrorists only creates more of them. Thus, the movie’s finer points, and the finer points of the War on Islamic Terror, will be lost on the average person overseas. This is liable to increase the danger from Islamic radicals and weaken the world’s resolve to defeat these hypocritical monsters.
Because of this, and some very strong foul language and some torture scenes, MOVIEGUIDE® advises more than extreme caution.
RENDITION is very well directed, despite an abundance of characters. The script has a nifty unexpected twist at the end. The only phony note comes surprisingly from Meryl Streep, who turns in a superficial, one-dimensional performance as the CIA anti-terror chief. Though the movie tries to present some balance with its negative depiction of Islamic terrorist leaders, its depiction of America’s anti-terrorism policies is too negative.