Friday, February 15, 2008

Redacted DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Disappointing Brian De Palma Iraq War Drama Out on DVD

Brian De Palma is the latest moviemaker eager to foist a heavy-handed anti-war picture on the public, and frankly some of these shrill screeds are starting to look silly. Shot pseudo-documentary style, but based on actual events, the film is essentially a loosely-connected series of montages revolving around a squad of six GIs manning a roadside checkpoint in Iraq.
The explanation for our being afforded an intimate peek at the soldiers’ mental mindset is that one of them, Angel (Izzy Diaz), has taken to videotaping their day-to-day lives with a hand-held camcorder. This dirty half-dozen is comprised of familiar war flick archetypes, ranging from the grizzled sergeant (Ty Jones) to the bespectacled nerd (Kel O’Neill) to macho dudes in a loose mood (Daniel Stewart Sherman and Patrick Carroll) to the tortured soul (Rob Devaney) with a still-functioning conscience.
The plot thickens when two GIs (guess who?) become horny and depraved enough to rape a 14 year-old. However, the sexual assault goes horribly wrong and leads to their not only murdering the girl but her entire family as well. Of course, the good ole boys responsible cover up the atrocity and prove quite capable of returning to the posts, business as usual, thereby delivering the sobering message that America’s Generation Kill sees the Iraqis they came to save as somewhat less than human.
Unfortunately, Redacted is so laughably unconvincing at every turn that it looks more like a student film in progress than a legit feature. Perhaps De Palma was too blinded by his undoubtedly fervent feelings about the Bush Administration’s bungling of the invasion and occupation to make an honest appraisal of his message movie’s abundance of technical flaws.
Regardless, this unfortunate outing is destined to leave an embarrassing blemish on the legendary director’s generally stellar body of work.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for disturbing images, violence, rape, pervasive profanity, ethnic slurs and sexual references.
In English and French with subtitles.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Refugee interviews, photo gallery and a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette.

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