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March 02, 2008

Rendition - 6

Why this film did not do better at the box office is beyond me. It had the star power: Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard- and directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi). It also had a decent story to tell, granted it might have gotten lost in the flood of political films dealing with terrorism and the war on terror. The film takes a simple story of an Egyptian who is taken in by the CIA coming back from a work related trip to South Africa due to connections he may have with a recent suicide bombing. Anwar El-Ibrahimi has lived most of his life in America and has made a life and family in the US. The story gets more complex as it weaves together the bureaucracy, cynicism and emotion that go into trying to figure the truth of the situation. Each character has their own perspective and political hide to look out for. And though it deals with torture, the film alludes rather than showing the horrendous nature of it.
While not based on specific true events, I have personally heard of this situation happening to people that look or have Arab sounding names. 9/11 changed the way we think about fear and security and the chances for something to go wrong are real. And with the small exception of some confusing flashbacks near the end of the film, it is an intriguing and much needed film. It does a good job of showing the personal behind what is usually portrayed in the media as merely political rhetoric.

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