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redacted Reviews

Page 1 of 43
John M

Super Reviewer

August 24, 2008
This just didnt flow very good and i just didnt like the movie. And hell i hate the war too but it felt forced and cliched.
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

July 8, 2010
Not much to say about this one, pretty burtal. 2 stars
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2009
"Redacted" is a terrible piece of filmmaking, with an atrocious script, direction so flat-footed that it's laughable, and acting so bad you wince almost non-stop. What's more, the film is despicable, exploiting the nightmare of the Iraq War in an almost pornographic way. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch another Brian De Palma film or shake the stench of "Redacted" from my imagination.

The film is loosely based on an alleged rape and murder that was committed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. I certainly think this subject matter warrants exploration by artists, but not by schlockmeisters seeking to cash in on it. "Redacted" operates at the level of ghoulish videographers who get excited when tragedy strikes because they can get great footage. Yet here there isn't even great footage. Every shot seems fake. I think this is the worst film I've ever seen.
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

February 14, 2008
Flashy production and faux multiple media sources don't make this feel authentic and the points about Iraq have been better made elsewhere (Battle for Haditha).
John B

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2007
There have been several depictions of the Iraq war that are more compelling. Not a bad effort but not the best.
Sarah P

Super Reviewer

April 27, 2009
This film seemed like a cheap movie high school or college students would make. The acting was really terrible and it was really boring, although the events they were depicting were anything but. A real disappointment.
iLeo
iLeo

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2008
Interesting
Dracula787
Dracula787

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2008
Brian De Palma is one of the most wildly inconsistent film directors still working today. It?s amazing how someone who?s made such classics as Scarface, Carrie, and The Untouchables has also made such large scale disasters as Bonfire of the Vanities, Mission to Mars, and Snake Eyes. The director?s inconsistence insures that one never knows what to expect from a De Palma film. De Palma?s last effort, 2006?s The Black Dahlia most definitely fell in the latter category. After this critical and financial bomb, very few eyes were on De Palma?s next project until Bill O?Reilly found out about its subject matter, at which point it became the most controversial film since The Passion of the Christ.
Redacted is a loosely fictionalized re-telling of a real incident that occurred in during the current Iraq war. The film follows a platoon stationed in Baghdad, particularly one soldier named Angel Salazar (Izzy Diaz) who is trying to make a video diary of his experiences in order to help him get into film school. Two members of the platoon, B.B. Rush (Daniel Stewart Sherman) and Reno Flake (Patrick Carroll), are loose cannons who have recently been involved in a controversial shooting at a checkpoint. These two soldiers frequently use racial epithets to refer to Iraqi citizens and generally seem to have a sadistic streak. A popular officer, Master Sergeant Sweet (Ty Jones), is killed by a hidden bomb. After this incident Rush and Flake are filled with rage and devise a plan to rape and kill a fifteen year old Iraqi girl and kill her family.
It is not hard to see why this concept has caused a lot of controversy, almost entirely from people who haven?t actually seen the film. Bill O?Reilly in particular has come out against the film and called on his viewers to protest the movie with ?support our troops? signs. Had he actually seen the film, or given a damn about its real content in the first place, he would have found the movie is hardly the anti-troop polemic he describes. Flake and Rush, are defiantly not the heroes O?Reilly would like to pretend each and every American soldier is, but they are also not figments of De Palma?s imaginations. The film is based on the Al-Mahmudiyah killings that occurred in March of 2006. The guilt of the American soldiers in this real life killing is not a matter of contention, all three have been found guilty and been sentenced to prison for over 90 years each. If this film is a lie, then why have the real killers, Spc. James Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, all been court marshaled? The answer is that the story of Redacted is an inconvenient truth if ever there was one; that perhaps not every soldier in Iraq isn?t an angel after all.
This is not to say that the film believes every soldier in Iraq is a rapist or killer, far from it in fact. Of the five members of the platoon in the film, only two are involved in the killing, two other members are vehemently opposed to their plan, while the other merely tags along out of morbid curiosity. The characters of Lawyer McCoy (Rob Devaney) and Gabe Blix (Kel O'Neill) in fact mostly live up to the image of the heroic soldier in Iraq for the right reasons. But the film is not simplistic enough to make this a story of a few bad apples that need to be sorted out. Rather, it seems to argue that this incident is the inevitable result of the war?s conditions. The soldiers in the movie are not from perfect back grounds, Rush and Flake seem to have been raised in unstable homes, with violent pasts. These unstable individuals, who went to Iraq more out of necessity than out of altruism, are placed in an incredibly tense and stressful situation and like soldiers in every war make the mistake of demonizing their enemies.
These kinds of incidents have happened in every war before and every war to come, in fact this story very closely mirrors the plot of Brian De Palma?s 1989 Vietnam film Casualties of War. However the similarities between the two films end at the overall story, in fact the entire film is a complete stylistic departure from every other film Brian De Palma has ever made. The typical De Palma film is visually extremely stylish. He often uses very slick widescreen cinematography with lots of color. This was even true in films like Casualties of War, a film in which such treatment generally seemed inappropriate. Instead what we get is a borderline documentary that appears to be culled from various sources like security camera?s, news reports, clips posted on the internet, and especially Angel?s video diaries. These different sources look fairly authentic, though they were in fact all created by De Palma. The video diaries for example have deliberately been made to look amateurish and shaky, and edited using cheesy Final Cut transitions. The security footage is probably the most questionable source, as very few security cameras I know of record sound, but it looks appropriate as they consist of static black and white shots. Also present is footage supposedly from a French documentary crew, which is probably the most professional looking footage in the film. De Palma?s decision to make the documentary crew French helps to underscore the linguistic confusion in the situation being ?documented.?
This mockumentary collage approach works both for and against the film. On one hand it is a unique and experimental style and it gives the film a gritty realism that is needed. On the other hand the style isn?t all that aesthetically pleasing at all, this may be the point, but the fact is in no way a fun film to watch. I?m not saying De Palma should have fallen back on his old style like he did for Casualties of War, but a nice compromise could have been reached, perhaps something along the line of Paul Greengrass? style in films like United 93 and Bloody Sunday.
De Palma seems to have cast mostly unknown actors in order to maintain the illusion of reality. Unfortunately, this decision backfires occasionally, when you?re trying to maintain the illusion of reality you need really strong actors, and the cast here is passable at best. Ty Jones comes across the best here, his small role as Master Sergeant Sweet is probably the best thing in the entire movie. But other actors here are not as successful, especially the actors playing the two rapists who probably have the most challenging roles. Flake and Rush generally come across like stereotypical rednecks when their roles generally require increased psychological complexity.
What Redacted does do particularly well is to simply paint a picture of what Iraq is like. I generally found random slices of life in the movie more interesting than the overall rape storyline. Ultimately I think De Palma?s message has less to do with the conduct of soldiers than it does with the way the war has been reported. The mainstream media has been widely criticized for only showing sanitized images of the war, something this movie is in no way guilty of. Mainstream is the last word anyone should use when describing Redacted. While other movies like Gavin Hood?s Rendition explore current events while remaining within the context of mainstream cinema, Redacted is a very unconventional film that pulls no punches. It?s an experimental film meant for a very narrow niche audience of open-minded people who want to see the horrors of war at their most extreme. This is not perfect by any stretch and its certainly not for everyone, but it?s a ballsy piece of work that?s dramatically different from anything else in theaters now, and for that reason I have a lot of respect for it.
May 30, 2012
This just didnt flow very good and i just didnt like the movie. And hell i hate the war too but it felt forced and cliched.
MovieGuruDude72
March 11, 2008
Basic synopsis:We are really influenced by giant conglomerates who want us to think that Cheeze Whiz is good for your heart.
March 9, 2008
i can respect the intent but the movie fails to deliver. even at a brisk ninety minutes i have absolutely no desire to sit through it again.
April 13, 2009
During the whole movie you feel that De Palma is dragging the obligation of making THE great film about the conflict in Iraq. The result is poor, annoying and striped of the last remaining ounces of imagination this director once had.

Just take for instance, the fake documentary, it is ugly, irrealistic and down right idiotic. Really a shame, so bad, the film actually looks European.
iamthethinman
October 12, 2008
I remember the time when De Palma was a groundbreaking, trendsetting director. I hope this was just his excuse to take Mark Cuban's money and make an experimental message film. This movie had no pulse and no one to really relate to. Not even the protagonists or evil ones. I really only liked the single take shots being first person from him.
jes25924
June 27, 2008
Redaction in literature means "edit" or editing together several sources into one. The military use a lot of "objective" words like this, as war euphemisms. Rendition can mean for instance "kidnap and torture", and I'm sure were all familiar with "fri...(read more)...(read more)endly fire". All of the material in this film looks as if it was found on the internet, because supposedly De Palma found out about this story through the internet; blogs, youtube postings, Arab, and American sites.

The story if you haven't heard yet is about 4 American soldiers who rape a 15 year old girl, execute her family, and set her house on fire(based on true events). It's also the second film De Palma has made about US. soldiers in a foreign occupied country raping and killing a young girl and one deciding not to participate in his Vietnam film "Casualities Of War" . In Redacted 3 out of 4 soldiers remain to see what happens, one of them with a camera, observes, and eventually flees. Implicit however by his passive observation(like our gentle viewers back home).

I don't think the redundancy of watching the same true life event play out again and again in your own lifetime is lost on De Palma, the difference is that now anyone can view what's happening.

From the computer where I sit, I can watch videos of bombs being planted for US soldiers, be-headings, Arab TV cameras interrogating grieving families and dying citizens. If I really wanted to I could bring up a gallery of atrocities, but we don't because what would be the point, what are "we" gonna get out of it? I don't think De Palma is attempting to demonize the US military, but emphasize that as history shows, men with guns under tremendous stress can and will do horrible things, and if they are going to be put into this kind of wild situation...well, why? There are no diatribes about leaving Iraq, or reasons why the war is important, from a soldiers point of view these are irrelevant anyway, you follow orders as best you possibly can and that's that. But before the end of the film, the question of "why" it does manage to rear it's head.

The performances which everyone keeps commenting on as being so bad, we'll I think Roger Ebert made the best case for them, "The acting is curious. Some of it is convincing, and some of the rest is convincing in a different way: It convinces us that non-actors know they are being filmed and are acting and speaking slightly differently than they otherwise would. That makes some try to appear nicer, and other try to appear tougher or more menacing. That edge of inauthentic performance paradoxically increases the effect: Moments seem more real because they are not acted flawlessly." Anyone whose ever been under camera understands this anxiety and artifice.

That being said this is not an enjoyable film, I can appreciate it, but I did not enjoy it. We often go into war films, as this one points out, expecting action, justice, catharsis, excitement, and what Redacted gives us is tension, suffering, revenge, and confusion shot through prism both global and immediate. There is no "beauty" in this film, because there's nothing beautiful about this particular situation, nothing redeeming, because we so want redemption, we want to be told everything will be alright, worth it, just, and it may not be. This is not a film about why the war is bad, it just shows us one case of "horror" that has happened before and will happen again, and asks if this thing is going to happen, "why?". Two questions that American media has stopped asking itself, since exit and entrance strategy are no longer options relevant to debate.

It's heavy handed, and unabashed, we may be it's biggest weakness, but then again real people in real situations react and talk about things in direct ways, stories can be subtle, real life does not have to be, it can be messy, and obnoxious, and yes unpleasant, but it's still real.

Not a fun night at the movies, but a complex, and thought/argument provoking, emotionally draining film(the repetitive music as the soldiers stand at the checkpoint suggests at once immense heat, tension, and boredom, all ready to boil over at the same time).

Most war films are records, or hero/action myths wearing war clothes, some yes manage to be beautiful, profound, even endearing. Redacted is none of those things, it is an accusation, a question, it's the elephant in the room that everyone ignores being shot from multiple angels at multiple lenses. Not perfect, but impressive, and challenging in a time where a lot of questions aren't being asked anymore, and certainly not in ways that can be made emotionally compelling to the average person. I rented this cus I wanted a movie that would fight with me, rather than coddle me to sleep, and this did just that.
shwanzi
April 13, 2008
Another film I couldn't stand that I ended up stopping about halfway through. Supposedly based on a true story of a bunch of US soldiers in Iraq who snap and rape and kill a young girl. Sounds like it could make for a very dramatic film. Well, it doesn't... not when it's been handled like a high school stage play complete with horrid acting and a gimmicky Blair Witch twist with the main characters filming each other with handicams. First off... no soldier would be allowed to bring a camera with them on duty to film his fellow officers while on post. Secondly (and this is because I know my cameras) the POS handicam used by the soldier to film would produce footage that looks like ass... not full HD (you can actually see the shadow of the REAL camera used to film a few times). It's so bad that it's painful to watch, and it baffles me how someone with such a great track record as Brian de Palma of all people could make a film that's so bad on so many levels. Ugh, color me one disappointed fan.
SonnyLighstrome
January 19, 2008
An interesting experiment of a film that tries to tell the story of the Iraq war through various media means. It works sometimes, and sometimes comes off as staged. Still....bonus points for trying, as this is probably DePalma's best film since CARLITO'S WAY, IMO.
March 13, 2008
Brian De Palma's Redacted doesn't quite work as a movie. But it works as SOMETHING.
aboccamazzo
July 21, 2014
7/10
intersting approach
March 25, 2014
I figure sooner or later people will "get" this film. I just hope I'm still around so I can tell them I called it.
Garret L.
November 30, 2013
Hands down, the WORST movie I have ever sat through
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