Friday, November 16, 2007

"Redacted" = Most Polarizing Film of the Year?

Brian De Palma's Redacted, his take on the current Iraq war, won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Best Director, and was nominated for the Golden Lion for Best Picture, despite some scathing reviews. Later, a huge controversy erupted over Magnolia Pictures asking De Palma to actually redact some controversial images of real war atrocities from the film.

And now, reviewers are either loving it or hating it, with the film inspiring just as much passionate praise as disgusted bile. Here's a quick example from MCN's Noah Forrest:

I was thinking about this when I watched Redacted the other night and couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps Brian De Palma was really a Republican trying to make a polemic so one-sided and trite that it would turn off most liberals. This is a film that was so miscalculated from the get-go that it is almost brilliant in the way it stitches together every possible cliché and makes them even more uninteresting by using a movie within a movie and then a movie within that movie and vodcasts that seem to have little relation to the rest of the material.

And one from Rick Groen of the Globe and Mail, as posted by another Redacted fan, Ryan C. Adams at AwardsDaily:

The first fictional feature set directly in the Iraq battle zone, Brian De Palma's Redacted is essential viewing. Love it, hate it, but be sure to watch it, because this odd and disturbing picture is as different as the war it reflects, and that difference is vast enough to seem profound....

De Palma borrows heavily from the collective agenda of those doc makers. Like them, he offers a brutal perspective that has largely been omitted (redacted) from the mainstream media coverage. Like them, he's intent on de-mythologizing the war, demonstrating that the Bush administration's prosecuting rationales hold no water even with the troops on the ground. And, like them, he takes abundant advantage of the fact that, if Vietnam was the first war to be televised, this is the first to be videotaped. And everybody's doing it. U.S. soldiers, Iraqi civilians, insurgents, terrorists, journalists, bloggers – they all have cameras and they're all just a mouse click away from sharing their images with the world.

The film, which opened today on 13 screens, has yet to announce when it will begin its nationwide rollout. But if right wing bloggers got all up in arms about Lions for Lambs, it will be interesting to see how they react to Redacted, which from what I hear is a much more incendiary work.

2007 is the year of the Iraq war film...time will tell if any of them actually have any real impact.

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