"Absorbing but Unbalanced"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(BB, FR, RH, AP, LL, VVV, S, N, AA, MM) Strong moral worldview contends that torture of suspected terrorists is wrong, especially because the person sometimes may be innocent, but the speech of some Islamic terrorists is mistranslated to refer to God instead of Allah, who historically bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible, and the American government is shown in a bad light with little nuance or balance to the depiction; 12 obscenities (mostly “f” words), three strong profanities and one light profanity; very strong violence when man gets electric shocks in torture scene, plus water is poured over man’s head wrapped in nylon during another torture scene, replays of bomb exploding that knocks back people around a market square, waiter shot in chest, man hit by back of hand, man fatally wounded in neck by bomb fragments, and man has blood on shirt; implied fornication and some passionate kissing; rear male nudity and upper male nudity, and man under interrogation is completely naked but little or nothing is clearly shown; alcohol use and man tries to get drunk; no smoking; and, false arrest, foreign national abducted, evidence destroyed by government officials, daughter rebels against father and takes up with a lowly ne’er-do-well.
One definition of torture is to inflict intense pain on a person in order to coerce a confession. The new movie RENDITION is an anti-torture movie that shows American officials sending suspected terrorists to other countries, where the suspects are tortured.
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.