Reviews for Rendition ( 2007 ) 1080p

Anti torture propaganda movie

By: vrilss
Hollywood hired a few good actors (including Meryl Streep, known for her political positioning and agenda) hoping to attract viewers to a propaganda movie against torture procedures used by USA (waterboarding etc). It could have been a good propaganda movie but unfortunately for them the movie is bad so it made less money than it has cost Hollywood to make it. Probably they will make a few Deadpool movies to cover the loses. It is a boring movie with a bad script, bad directing and not worth the time to watch it even if you don't pay for it.

A Boring Rendition of a Film

By: josh_youngbwfc
Rendition is a thriller, released in 2007 to mixed reviews. It centres on a CIA analyst who begins to question his assignment after witnessing an unorthodox interrogation at a secret detention facility outside the US. The film is based on the true story of Khalid El-Masri who was mistaken for Khalid Al-Masri.

It features a cast of many big names: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard (who spends most of the film looking incredibly similar to Ewan McGregor), Meryl Streep and J.K. Simmons and is directed by Gavin Hood who is also responsible for ruining a fan favourite Marvel character's origins in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The performances of the above are not that bad and that is the highest compliment I can pay them, however the performance of Omar Metwally who plays the man mistaken for a terrorist is absolutely fantastic; he completely steals the show.

Jake Gyllenhaal's character is very two dimensional. I like Gyllenhaal as an actor and when he turns it on he really does turn it on, but here in Rendition something is lacking. His character is poor and nothing can really bring him to life. Witherspoon's character is just irritating from start to finish while Sarsgaard's character seems useless. The heavyweights Simmons and Streep aren't used nearly enough. The character development and characters in general need to be better written and are not well rounded or even that likable.

Some of the torture scenes in which Anwar El-Ibrahimi is treated horrifically by the American government are when this film comes into its own. They are very well filmed and recreated and clearly a lot of research went into making those scenes authentic and they do, at times, become very hard to watch because we, as the audience, know that the victim is innocent.

My biggest problem with Rendition though is its genre. Thriller. Here's a little piece of advice; you can't call a film a thriller when it isn't even thrilling in the slightest! A thriller, in my opinion, needs to have a mystery, it needs to have shocks and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Rendition fails to do this majorly. There are parts of the film where it seems as though the director is trying to build up sympathy or the characters or try and give a subtle shock to the audience but it only plants the seeds for a plot twist and the seeds never really come to fruition.

When I sat down to watch the film I had read what it was about and was anticipating something very entertaining as I was impressed with the storyline and the cast but as the film grew on (from what was a very boring first half into a mediocre second) I soon came to realise that I was not watching the film I had hoped. Rendition was a let down; an anti-war film that never really takes off.

Having read around the film I know that it has its fans but I just can't imagine myself wanting to watch it again.

a sign of the times

By: CountZero313
The term 'rendition' is a euphemism for state-sponsored kidnapping, just as 'waterboarding' is a euphemism for torture and the vile 'collateral damage' means civilian casualties. Kidnap, torture and the murder of innocents is what the bad guys do. You cannot carry out these acts and claim to be the good guys. Anyone who says it is 'naive' to think so is feeble-minded.

Thematically, this film doesn't work because it thinks there is an argument to be had on this topic. The filmmakers think it has to be argued through, but I can't see any educated person having their mind changed by a Hollywood dramatization. The issue is covered in such a shallow manner that this film could easily be called Rendition for Dummies.

Considered in purely dramatic terms, the acting is high quality, as you would expect from a stellar cast, though the stand out is the little-known Zineb Oukach as love-struck Fatima in an ill-fated relationship with one of her father's political opponents. There is a looping time-line a la Pulp Fiction that seems out of place given the charged themes. There is also a sense that the 'bad guys' get their comeuppance, which, given the fact that we are living through these issues and they are far from resolved, is premature at best and insulting at worst.

I was left with a sense that some issues are best served by being considered with the benefit of distance and hindsight.

Absolute smug rubbish

By: jmullord
This is an example of film making at it"s worst. Styleless smug moral rubbish. A film dressed up as being "intelligent" but is dumb and artless in the extreme. Perfectly one dimensional clichéd characters,the oh so walmart plot, the slow motion sequences, dreamy middle eastern music and the use of a film grading that is the signature of the lame.

Yes torture and politicians are bad.

The issues addressed within the plot are of course worthy. I am surprised to see within the other comments that this film is viewed as some kind of expose, or as having some kind of current affairs value. Anyone "shocked" by the behaviour of these "bad guys" really needs to start watching the news. Surely it's not worth getting to embroiled in the nieve politics presented here. Please blush if you feel any more worldly wise having seen this.

Sure all the boxes are ticked and it is "professionally" executed, but why. I see absolutely no value in this kind of film.

I watched 100 Million years BC the other day which is in some ways the worst film ever made, but I'd go to their wrap party over this lots any day.

Not for me thanks

This could ACTUALLY have happened to me!!!

By: mohamedster
I'm Egyptian. I have a green card. I have been living in the US since 1991. I have a very common Arabic name. I'm married (non-American but non-Egyptian, non-Arab wife). I have children who are born in the US. I have a PhD in Cell Biology from the US and I travel for conferences. I make 6 figure income and I own a home in the Washington, DC area. I pay my taxes and outside 1 or 2 parking tickets I have no blemish on my record since I came to this country in 1991. I look more Egyptian than the Ibrahimi character but my spoken English is as good as his.

A couple of months ago I was returning from a conference/company business in Spain through Munich Germany to Washington, DC (Home). I was picked up in Munich airport by a German officer as soon as I got off the Madrid plane. He was waiting for me. He was about to start interrogating me until I simply told him "I have no business in Germany, I'm just passing through". He had let me go with the utmost disappointment. That was nothing compared to what happened at Washington, Dulles airport (Which was not nearly as bad as what happened to Ibrahimi in the movie). The customs officer asked me a couple of questions about the length and purpose of my trip. He then wrote a letter C on my custom declaration form and let me go. After I picked up my checked bag I was stopped at the last exit point (Some Homeland Security crap). I sat there for 3 hours along with many different people of many different nationalities. I was not told the reason for my detainment. I was not allowed to use my phone or ANY other phone. I was feisty at first asking to be told of the reason or let me go but decided to suck it up and just wait and see. I asked if I can call my wife to tell her that I'm going to be late but was told no. When I tried to use my phone and as soon as my wife said "hello", an officer yanked the phone out of hand and threatened me to confiscate it. When I asked about needing to call home because my family is waiting, they said "Three hours is nothing, we will make contact after 5 hours". When I asked to use the bathroom, an officer accompanied me there. It toilet was funny; I guess it was a prison style toilet that is all metal with no toilet seat. Finally, they called my name and gave me my passport/green card and said you can go. I asked what the problem was, they said "nothing"!! I know it was only 3 hours but I was dead tired and wanted to go home to see my wife and kids.

As for the movie, it was very well made. Unlike most movies that involve Arabs and use non-Arab actors who just speak gibberish, this movie the Arabic was 100% correct. I assume the country is Morocco (North Africa).

Tough one to watch

By: bob-rutzel-1
CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Gyllenhaal) gets to see his first secret location interrogation when Anwar (Metwally) is accused of having contact with a known terrorist bomb maker. Anwar's wife (Witherspoon) is frantic regarding the whereabouts of her husband .

Don't you just hate it when the title of a movie sends you to a dictionary? I must have an old edition as this Rendition is not a musical piece. No, it's the government's way of legally taking a resident or citizen somewhere to interrogate him and possibly use some torture to get the desired information.

While watching this movie I was reminded of a similar story line in the Crossing Jordan TV show (now off the air), and I expect we will see even more of these story lines. It's inevitable. The events of 911 are the catalysts.

This is a tough one to watch because we don't like to see people tortured and our government not telling the truth about things. We like the idea that no matter what happens or happened that we can go somewhere to find answers, but when that door is closed to us, we are truly lost and without hope as Anwar's wife was.

Performances by all were first class and it's possible we may see more of Igai Naor (I have no idea how to pronounce it) because he resembles and can act like Telly Savalas. No kidding.

Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes

A much needed wake-up call?

By: Michael DeZubiria
Extraordinary Rendition is a frightening practice authorized, surprisingly, under Clinton, that allows the U.S. government to seize and hold anyone suspected, seemingly for any reason, of being a terrorist against the United States. This is a touchy issue, especially after 9/11, because supporters of the practice will always criticize the opposition as withholding vital power from the U.S. that it needs to effectively fight terror. Fanatic supporters will label the opposition as terrorists in themselves.

But like a recent film that lent a similar level of humanity to the death penalty, The Life of David Gale, Rendition shows us a story of the misuse of extraordinary rendition, or at least the ease with which it can be exploited and falsely applied. The story involves Anwar El- Abrahimi, an American chemical engineer born in Egypt who is seized on his way back to America from giving a lecture in Egypt. The cause given is that he made phone calls to a known terrorist. No proof is ever given (or needed) that it was Anwar that made the calls, that his phone was never lost of stolen.

Meanwhile, Anwar's extremely pregnant wife, Isabella, is back in the states frantically trying to find her husband, who got onto a plane to Chicago but apparently never got off. The flimsy explanation that he was never there evaporates when she discovers that he made an in-flight purchase using his credit card.

Lately I have been researching modern Chinese history, particularly that of the astonishingly selfish and brutal dictatorship set up by Mao Tse-tung, and it is more than a little frightening to see the similarities between extraordinary rendition and some of Mao's brutal scare tactics, including his public executions (which the people were forced to watch), and extensive use of torture specifically used to extract "confessions."

It is pretty disturbing to notice that Mao specifically did these things to create an environment of fear in order to achieve obedience from the Chinese people. To say that the Bush administration has not created an environment of fear and continues to milk it for everything it's worth would be na?ve in the extreme, and although extraordinary rendition was not created under Bush, it is clear that it does more harm than good.

Adding to the thickness of the film is Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal), who works behind a desk for the CIA and has little field experience, until his boss is assassinated and he suddenly finds himself supervising the torture of a man that he quickly comes to doubt has anything to reveal. Fatima's (Freeman's boss) daughter also plays a pivotal role, as does a senatorial aide played by Peter Sarsgaard, who might have the most satisfying role in the movie. Meryl Streep is also suitably cold and clinical as a chilly senator with a dogmatic support of the necessity and practice of rendition.

As a political thriller, the movie is remarkably well-crafted and paced. But the scariest thing about it is that this is all real. The movie's goal is to get people to really think about the things done in America's name, especially when they claim to be done to prevent those same things. Conducting terror in the name of preventing terror will win no sympathy for us, nor will extracting confessions through brutal torture, which is the basest form of criminal investigation.

Unfortunately, we are gradually heading in that direction, of doing these things more rather than less. The frightening question is what is the event that is going to take place at some point in the future to convince us to stop and head the other way, toward civilization and peace, or will we just keep heading toward a military dictatorship until we finally get there?

A much needed wake-up call?

By: Anonymous_Maxine
Extraordinary Rendition is a frightening practice authorized, surprisingly, under Clinton, that allows the U.S. government to seize and hold anyone suspected, seemingly for any reason, of being a terrorist against the United States. This is a touchy issue, especially after 9/11, because supporters of the practice will always criticize the opposition as withholding vital power from the U.S. that it needs to effectively fight terror. Fanatic supporters will label the opposition as terrorists in themselves.

But like a recent film that lent a similar level of humanity to the death penalty, The Life of David Gale, Rendition shows us a story of the misuse of extraordinary rendition, or at least the ease with which it can be exploited and falsely applied. The story involves Anwar El- Abrahimi, an American chemical engineer born in Egypt who is seized on his way back to America from giving a lecture in Egypt. The cause given is that he made phone calls to a known terrorist. No proof is ever given (or needed) that it was Anwar that made the calls, that his phone was never lost of stolen.

Meanwhile, Anwar's extremely pregnant wife, Isabella, is back in the states frantically trying to find her husband, who got onto a plane to Chicago but apparently never got off. The flimsy explanation that he was never there evaporates when she discovers that he made an in-flight purchase using his credit card.

Lately I have been researching modern Chinese history, particularly that of the astonishingly selfish and brutal dictatorship set up by Mao Tse-tung, and it is more than a little frightening to see the similarities between extraordinary rendition and some of Mao's brutal scare tactics, including his public executions (which the people were forced to watch), and extensive use of torture specifically used to extract "confessions."

It is pretty disturbing to notice that Mao specifically did these things to create an environment of fear in order to achieve obedience from the Chinese people. To say that the Bush administration has not created an environment of fear and continues to milk it for everything it's worth would be na?ve in the extreme, and although extraordinary rendition was not created under Bush, it is clear that it does more harm than good.

Adding to the thickness of the film is Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal), who works behind a desk for the CIA and has little field experience, until his boss is assassinated and he suddenly finds himself supervising the torture of a man that he quickly comes to doubt has anything to reveal. Fatima's (Freeman's boss) daughter also plays a pivotal role, as does a senatorial aide played by Peter Sarsgaard, who might have the most satisfying role in the movie. Meryl Streep is also suitably cold and clinical as a chilly senator with a dogmatic support of the necessity and practice of rendition.

As a political thriller, the movie is remarkably well-crafted and paced. But the scariest thing about it is that this is all real. The movie's goal is to get people to really think about the things done in America's name, especially when they claim to be done to prevent those same things. Conducting terror in the name of preventing terror will win no sympathy for us, nor will extracting confessions through brutal torture, which is the basest form of criminal investigation.

Unfortunately, we are gradually heading in that direction, of doing these things more rather than less. The frightening question is what is the event that is going to take place at some point in the future to convince us to stop and head the other way, toward civilization and peace, or will we just keep heading toward a military dictatorship until we finally get there?

Just Not Enough

By: alexkolokotronis
Making the movie Rendition was a very good idea and addresses an important problem that is occurring today. This movie though does fall short. It did not have the juice that Lions for Lambs or the shocking portrayals of a documentary.

The acting was for me below average. Reese Witherspoon looked her part and played the way she needed to as a pregnant mother who's husband has been kidnapped. I cannot say the same for the others though. Merryl Streep just annoyed me in this movie. She played as a top employee of the CIA (I think) who gives out the order of torturing someone, but the way she played her role was just so cliché and unoriginal she did not bring anything special that she usually does in other movies. She actually ruined this movie. Then there was Alan Arkin, he played very well but there is just one problem he was in the movie for about as long he is in the advertisements. He did show you what a senator does do but not enough. Peter Sarsgaard did have a very good chance to shine in here but he did not get enough screen time. He was the key to this movie and he just did not have the chance to inspire or perform the way he could have. Jake Gyllenhall who did was just there. I'm not really sure what he was supposed to do in this movie but just stand there. I think he is an overrated an actor and showed that in here. Yigal Noar who played the father looking for his daughter could as well have really had an impact on this movie but just did not. The two actors who played lovers really did not bring enough of an emphasis to there characters at all and it just fell short like the rest of this movie. Omar Metwally who played the man being tortured gave the best performance out of all of these actors.

The directing and writing was poor in Rendition. Gavin Hood and the writer are the main reason why this movie fell short in every aspect. They did not give too much meaning in this movie and did not develop the character in a efficient way. Probably the lack of development of the characters ruined this movie the most. That is why the acting was not too great. How could you write a story like this and not explain who these characters are and why they do the things they do. That is how you explain why people are terrorists, CIA agents, etc. Without that this is a horrible political movie and political statement. This movie does not even tell you the job positions of the Merrly Streep and Yigal Noar who are very important here. This movie needed to be much longer in order to truly push the message of the story forward but it just turned out to be a battle for screen time between the stars of Hollywood. Not enough clarity. Not enough development of characters, not enough reasoning and just too short.

Rendition: an unfortunate new word to add to our sense of shame

By: gradyharp
RENDITION accomplishes a lot in presenting a story that is tough to watch, tougher to believe, and for all that is a tremendously involving and electrifying movie. It is definitely a message film but that message is delivered by a smart script, a compassionate director, and a dream cast.

But first the word rendition: according to the dictionary, "In law, rendition is a "surrender" or "handing over" of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another. For criminal suspects, extradition is the most common type of rendition. Rendition can also be seen as the act of handing over, after the request for extradition has taken place." For many this may not be news, but for those who are not privy to our Intelligence games, the concept is a terrifying one. For this film Kelley Sane has provided director Gavin Hood with a script that examines the horrors of rendition and in doing so the two have created a story we simply cannot ignore.

Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) is an Egyptian-born American working in South Africa as the film begins: his very pregnant wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) awaits his return home but when Anwar doesn't appear at the airport, the enigma begins. Anwar has been taken prisoner in Egypt where he is tortured and interrogated for information by the cruel Abasi Fawal (Yigal Naor) while a reluctant CIA investigator Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) stands by, the two attempting to extract secrets to be provided to the USA: behind the scenes in Washington DC the extraordinary rendition is piloted by Intelligence expert Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep). Isabella attempts to uncover the truth of her missing husband's whereabouts and involves an old friend (Peter Sarsgaard) to help her. Nothing goes well, not in the US or in Egypt, where the interrogator Abasi discovers the evil that is brewing within his own family. It is Isabella's persistence, Anwar's endurance, and the ultimate heroism of Douglas Freeman that allow the resolution to the nightmare.

The cast is uniformly strong, the grim realities of the torture chambers are almost unbearable to watch, and the in-our-face discovery of how our Intelligence system works (especially since 911) is terrifying. Added to the DVD is a short film about two men who talk about personal experiences with 'rendition'. It is a kick in the gut and demands action from the viewer to become an activist in preventing the continuation of these tactics. Grady Harp

Not complex enough to justify the theme

By: intelearts
Rendition fails to really nail the issue - it chooses instead to show its colours too distinctly.

And what we get instead is a decent political thriller, but one that is difficult to assess in terms of its attempted aim - after all, here we are dealing with what must be one of the emotive issues known to man - can torture ever be justified? Is the utilitarian rule of the possible gains worth the literal breaking of a possibly innocent man? Is he a terrorist, isn't he a terrorist?

This is a very important topic, and a very complex one, that is treated as though it were a film about lobbying on the one hand, showing Washington and the Beltway as a ground for piranhas to make or break their careers, and on the other, in Egypt, a battle for the sanity of all involved there.

Yes, it makes a good thriller; but, and it's a big but, it lacks the true depth of thought, rather than action, that will address the issue, rather than (God forbid) entertain an audience.

Excellent performances from all involved - really. Good steady hand at the helm - but what it lacks is complexity - it seems complex initially but unravels the further down the rabbit warren we go.

I came away uneasy, but not as uneasy as I should have, and non-plussed by the sleight of hand tricks that should have revealed real ambivalence, real moral dilemma, real grey areas, whereras instead I was left with black and white.

Not the film it wants to be, it is a good political thriller, but it is not as effective a piece of cinema as it could have been.

Rendition

By: JuliaGulia967264
"I fear you speak upon the rack, where men enforced do speak anything." This Shakespearean line from The Merchant of Venice is echoed again in the new film Rendition which introduces the viewer to the "enhanced methods of interrogation", renditions, which began in the Clinton Administration and have become more commonplace since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The film features an all-star cast, with Oscar winners Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as Peter Sarsgaard, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Omar Metwally. Supporting roles filled by unfamiliar actors deliver as well, sucking the audience into the plot, and showing how many people can be affected by overseas terror attacks, and our means of investigating them.

Rendition follows an Egyptian born terrorism suspect (Metwally) who is taken by U.S. officials following his flight from South Africa to Washington DC to an undisclosed prison overseas. His pregnant wife (Witherspoon) ventures to Washington DC to find out about his disappearance through a family friend and Senator's employee (Sarsgaard). Gyllenhaal plays a young CIA analyst at the overseas detention facility who monitors the violent interrogation.

This film follows the emotional plights of the torture victim (Metwally), and those involved in obtaining the supposed information from him. Some, like the CIA analyst (Gyllenhaal), are visibly shaken and horrified by the methods exercised, while others, the stern Senator (Streep) and foreign interrogator (Yigal Naor), see it as necessary and effective.

The film may be described by some as a political piece, but is ultimately an emotional one. Metwally's performance as the tortured prisoner is Oscar-worthy. The film does not intend to preach, but rather to question and inform the audience on a topic that does not often have a human face put on it. Renditions have been known to work, but have also been known to produce false information from innocent prisoners. The film simply depicts the emotional struggles of those involved in such grave business, and does so in a way that will affect every viewer differently. The film will keep your interest, and have you engaged in each of the character's plights.

Rendition

By: Julia (JuliaGulia967264)
"I fear you speak upon the rack, where men enforced do speak anything." This Shakespearean line from The Merchant of Venice is echoed again in the new film Rendition which introduces the viewer to the "enhanced methods of interrogation", renditions, which began in the Clinton Administration and have become more commonplace since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The film features an all-star cast, with Oscar winners Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as Peter Sarsgaard, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Omar Metwally. Supporting roles filled by unfamiliar actors deliver as well, sucking the audience into the plot, and showing how many people can be affected by overseas terror attacks, and our means of investigating them.

Rendition follows an Egyptian born terrorism suspect (Metwally) who is taken by U.S. officials following his flight from South Africa to Washington DC to an undisclosed prison overseas. His pregnant wife (Witherspoon) ventures to Washington DC to find out about his disappearance through a family friend and Senator's employee (Sarsgaard). Gyllenhaal plays a young CIA analyst at the overseas detention facility who monitors the violent interrogation.

This film follows the emotional plights of the torture victim (Metwally), and those involved in obtaining the supposed information from him. Some, like the CIA analyst (Gyllenhaal), are visibly shaken and horrified by the methods exercised, while others, the stern Senator (Streep) and foreign interrogator (Yigal Naor), see it as necessary and effective.

The film may be described by some as a political piece, but is ultimately an emotional one. Metwally's performance as the tortured prisoner is Oscar-worthy. The film does not intend to preach, but rather to question and inform the audience on a topic that does not often have a human face put on it. Renditions have been known to work, but have also been known to produce false information from innocent prisoners. The film simply depicts the emotional struggles of those involved in such grave business, and does so in a way that will affect every viewer differently. The film will keep your interest, and have you engaged in each of the character's plights.

Interesting but not too satisfactory

By: Argemaluco
Rendition is one of that films which analyze the political situation in the USA after September 11th.That intention is good and the film is interesting...but not too satisfactory.Let's see why.Rendition has a very slow development which,on some moments,bored me.I would have preferred some more dynamism.Also,the film tries to show so many subjects(the indoctrination of the terrorists, the Islamic fundamentalism, the intricate world of the politics, the torture and its justifications)and they are not so well developed.But,I find Rendition a good film.The performances are great.Reese Witherspoon proves her talent goes much beyond of starring in stupid romantic comedies because her performance in here is extraordinary.Jake Gyllenhaal,the brilliant Alan Arkin and the overrated Meryl Streep also bring excellent performances.Director Gavin Hood(whose previous film was the amazing Tsotsi)makes a very good and detailed work as a director.I have opposing opinions about Rendition.For one sight,it's an interesting movie with excellent performances and a very important message.But,for the other sight,it's a slow and a little bit boring movie which tries to show a lot of subjects.I think I can recommend Rendition because it has something to say.And I always appreciate that.

moving and thought-provoking

By: dutchthea
Imagine you have just been on a plane for 18 hours. You have been on a business trip to South Africa. You are a high-paid professional. You've lived in the US for 20 years. You are in your thirties, you have a wife a little boy and another baby on the way. One thing, even though you have a green card, you are still Egyptian. On transit you are asked to come with 2 security guards, next thing you know you are overpowered, hooded and chained and after a brief ( but still reasonably civil) interrogation you are to be rendered! This is what happens to Anwar el Ibrahimi at the beginning of the movie. His is a story of pain and ( literally )torture. It's one of several story lines. One follows his wife's attempts to get more information. One follows the (cold) bureaucrats behind the rendition. Another story deals with the family of the man who leads the interrogation of Anwar el Ibrahimi. There are some other stories too and by the end they all neatly come together. Though the more famous actors like Reese Witherspoon ( as the distraught pregnant wife ) Jake Gyllenhaal ( as the CIA rookie forced to watch the interrogation in Northern Africa) and Meryl Streep ( as CIA hotshot Corine Whitman) it is really the more unknown actors that carry the story and give it it's heart. For me the actor playing the unfortunate Mr El Ibrahimi ( Omar Metwally ) was the heart and soul of this movie. His portrayal of a man in distress was shockingly well done. It's almost as if he was being tortured for real! Also Israeli actor Yigal Naor was very impressive as the part worried family-man and part extremely cruel chief of torture. Hard to watch and not exactly fun, but still very worthwhile.

flawed but important drama

By: Buddy-51
In this day and age in which just about every other news story involves discussions of waterboarding, images of Abu Ghraib, or tales of forced detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Gavin Hood's "Rendition" is about as up-to-the-minute and timely a movie as is ever likely to come out of the entertainment mills of mainstream Hollywood. It's not, by any stretch of the imagination, a perfect film, but neither does it merit the caterwauling opprobrium it has received at the hands of critics from all across the ideological and political spectrum.

The term "rendition" refers to the ability of the CIA to arrest any individuals it suspects of terrorist dealings, then to whisk them away in secret to a foreign country to interrogate and torture them for an indefinite period of time, all without due process of law. Anwar El-Ibrahimi is an Egyptian man who has been living for twenty years in the United States. He has an American wife, a young son and a new baby on the way. He seems a very unlikely candidate for a terrorist, yet one day, without warning or explanation, Anwar is seized and taken to an undisclosed location where he is subjected to brutal torture until he admits his involvement with a terrorist organization that Anwar claims to know nothing about.

On the negative side, "Rendition" falters occasionally in its storytelling abilities, often biting off a little more than it can chew in terms of both plot and character. The ostensible focal point is Douglas Freeman, a rookie CIA agent who is brought in to observe Anwar's "interrogation" at the hands of Egyptian officials. The problem is that, as conceived by writer Kelley Sane and enacted by Jake Gyllenhaal, Freeman seems too much of a na?ve "boy scout" to make for a very plausible agent, and he isn't given the screen time he needs to develop fully as a character. We know little about him at the beginning and even less, it seems, at the end. He "goes through the motions," but we learn precious little about the man within. Thus, without a strong center of gravity to hold it all together, the film occasionally feels as if it is coming apart at the seams, with story elements flying off in all directions. A similar problem occurs with Anwar's distraught wife, played by Reese Witherspoon, a woman we never get to know much about apart from what we can see on the surface. Gyllenhaal and Witherspoon have both proved themselves to be fine actors under other circumstances, but here they are hemmed in by a restrictive screenplay that rarely lets them go beyond a single recurring note in their performances.

What makes "Rendition" an ultimately powerful film, however, is the extreme seriousness of the subject matter and the way in which two concurrently running plot lines elegantly dovetail into one another in the movie's closing stretches. It may make for a slightly more contrived story than perhaps we might have liked on this subject, but, hey, this is Hollywood after all, and the film has to pay SOME deference to mass audience expectations if it is to get itself green lighted, let alone see the light of day as a completed project.

Two of the supporting performances are particularly compelling in the film: Omar Metwally who makes palpable the terror of a man caught in a real life Kafkaesque nightmare from which he cannot awaken, and Yigal Naor who makes a surprisingly complex character out of the chief interrogator/torturer. Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Peter Sarsgaard also make their marks in smaller roles. Special mention should also be made of the warm and richly hued cinematography of Dion Beebe.

Does the movie oversimplify the issues? Probably. Does it stack the deck in favor of the torture victim and against the evil government forces? Most definitely. (One wonders how the movie would have played if Anwar really WERE a terrorist). Yet, the movie has the guts to tread on controversial ground. It isn't afraid to raise dicey questions or risk the disapproval of some for the political stances it takes. It openly ponders the issue of just how DOES a nation hold fast to its hard-won principle of "civil liberties for all" in the face of terrorism and fear. And just how much courage does it take for people of good will to finally stand up and say "enough is enough," even at the risk of being branded terrorist-appeasing and unpatriotic by those in power? (The movie also does not, in any way, deny the reality of extreme Islamic terrorism).

Thus, to reject "Rendition" out of hand would be to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. "Rendition" may not be perfect, but it IS good, and it has something of importance to say about the world in which we now live. And that alone makes it very much worth seeing.

flawed but important drama

By: Roland E. Zwick
In this day and age in which just about every other news story involves discussions of waterboarding, images of Abu Ghraib, or tales of forced detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Gavin Hood's "Rendition" is about as up-to-the-minute and timely a movie as is ever likely to come out of the entertainment mills of mainstream Hollywood. It's not, by any stretch of the imagination, a perfect film, but neither does it merit the caterwauling opprobrium it has received at the hands of critics from all across the ideological and political spectrum.

The term "rendition" refers to the ability of the CIA to arrest any individuals it suspects of terrorist dealings, then to whisk them away in secret to a foreign country to interrogate and torture them for an indefinite period of time, all without due process of law. Anwar El-Ibrahimi is an Egyptian man who has been living for twenty years in the United States. He has an American wife, a young son and a new baby on the way. He seems a very unlikely candidate for a terrorist, yet one day, without warning or explanation, Anwar is seized and taken to an undisclosed location where he is subjected to brutal torture until he admits his involvement with a terrorist organization that Anwar claims to know nothing about.

On the negative side, "Rendition" falters occasionally in its storytelling abilities, often biting off a little more than it can chew in terms of both plot and character. The ostensible focal point is Douglas Freeman, a rookie CIA agent who is brought in to observe Anwar's "interrogation" at the hands of Egyptian officials. The problem is that, as conceived by writer Kelley Sane and enacted by Jake Gyllenhaal, Freeman seems too much of a na?ve "boy scout" to make for a very plausible agent, and he isn't given the screen time he needs to develop fully as a character. We know little about him at the beginning and even less, it seems, at the end. He "goes through the motions," but we learn precious little about the man within. Thus, without a strong center of gravity to hold it all together, the film occasionally feels as if it is coming apart at the seams, with story elements flying off in all directions. A similar problem occurs with Anwar's distraught wife, played by Reese Witherspoon, a woman we never get to know much about apart from what we can see on the surface. Gyllenhaal and Witherspoon have both proved themselves to be fine actors under other circumstances, but here they are hemmed in by a restrictive screenplay that rarely lets them go beyond a single recurring note in their performances.

What makes "Rendition" an ultimately powerful film, however, is the extreme seriousness of the subject matter and the way in which two concurrently running plot lines elegantly dovetail into one another in the movie's closing stretches. It may make for a slightly more contrived story than perhaps we might have liked on this subject, but, hey, this is Hollywood after all, and the film has to pay SOME deference to mass audience expectations if it is to get itself green lighted, let alone see the light of day as a completed project.

Two of the supporting performances are particularly compelling in the film: Omar Metwally who makes palpable the terror of a man caught in a real life Kafkaesque nightmare from which he cannot awaken, and Yigal Naor who makes a surprisingly complex character out of the chief interrogator/torturer. Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Peter Sarsgaard also make their marks in smaller roles. Special mention should also be made of the warm and richly hued cinematography of Dion Beebe.

Does the movie oversimplify the issues? Probably. Does it stack the deck in favor of the torture victim and against the evil government forces? Most definitely. (One wonders how the movie would have played if Anwar really WERE a terrorist). Yet, the movie has the guts to tread on controversial ground. It isn't afraid to raise dicey questions or risk the disapproval of some for the political stances it takes. It openly ponders the issue of just how DOES a nation hold fast to its hard-won principle of "civil liberties for all" in the face of terrorism and fear. And just how much courage does it take for people of good will to finally stand up and say "enough is enough," even at the risk of being branded terrorist-appeasing and unpatriotic by those in power? (The movie also does not, in any way, deny the reality of extreme Islamic terrorism).

Thus, to reject "Rendition" out of hand would be to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. "Rendition" may not be perfect, but it IS good, and it has something of importance to say about the world in which we now live. And that alone makes it very much worth seeing.

What 'the greater good' is should not have to be a forced choice our leaders have to take if we each already decide correctly at the source.

By: jemps918
The powerhouse cast pulls the crowd in the theatre, despite the ominous title. Jake Gyllenhaal guested on Conan O'Brien to promote the movie and explained that 'Rendition' was a euphemism for obtaining information via torture. Since 9/11, 'extraordinary rendition' allowed the government's intelligence agency to extricate people unquestioningly without due process and use any means necessary in exchange for information.

Gyllenhaal plays rookie CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (note the irony) who is torn about his assignment which renders him as a mere observer to unorthodox interrogation proceedings at an underground detention facility outside the US.

Omar Metwally plays the suspected terrorist Anwar El-Ibrahimi, Egyptian national and green card-carrying hubby of American Isabella Fields El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon). Isabella and her son wait for Anwar to come home from a scientific conference when he suddenly disappears from the plane's passenger manifest. She seeks help from her college friend who works in government and learns that the Head of Intelligence, Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep) is behind it all.

Rendition is directed by Hollywood newbie Gavin Hood (who is set to do X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and begs the question of whether such 'extraordinary rendition' is exercised in real life. The movie was released locally in the wake of the Glorietta explosion (bombing/mishap?), and a pivotal scene in the movie is when a bomb explodes in a public plaza, so that must have sent chills up every moviegoer's spine. Seeing the exploding tableau with a lone red and yellow sign Aajala (Ayala?) on the upper right hand of the screen, plus the effect of silence and slow-moving images magnified the impact of the scene's real-life coincidence.

There are lessons to learn from this movie and it all boils down to personal decisions we make, daily. We all have choices we can exercise at will, and we often do not always (want to) see how these affect others, who may end up as hapless victims of circumstance. What 'the greater good' is should not have to be a forced choice our leaders have to take if we each already decide correctly at the source. Now that's a utopia worth building.

is it ever, ever right to torture an individual

By: lucad_99
I saw the movie yesterday and was shocked by it, but even more shocked by some of the comments I have read here. One person wrote that it was ambiguous if the victim of the torture was guilty or not--therefore... One person wrote that since he wasn't an American citizen, therefore... Some people comment that the people in the Middle East hate us and want us dead, therefore... So are we saying then that it is right to torture someone who is guilty of a crime? Are we saying it is right to torture someone who is not an American Citizen? Are we saying that it is right to torture someone who may hate us and want us dead? Are we saying that, as is written in the Geneva Convention, the Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the United States that "torture is wrong, but some torture is less wrong than others?" When does it become "right" to torture? THAT is why this movie is powerful-- it is ambiguous, but not about torture. Torture is always wrong, and if we are willing to do it, even in the name of justice and "National Security" or "freedom and democracy" then we are wrong and we are evil; we are doing exactly what we are accusing our enemies of doing (and we are calling them "wrong" in the same breath.) My favorite line in the film was "if you don't want to compromise join Amnesty International." Right on.

Perhaps the most important film of the year

By: arshadfilms
I think this was the most outstanding edge-of-your-seat thriller that I have seen in a long time. The research for the film was thorough, the writer Kelly Sane has left no loose ends. The cast was seasoned (fantastic performances all round). Omar Metwally was outstanding.

The cinematography is poetic, music enchanting and the overall effect highly satisfying.

Rendition goes into territory that even the media fears to tread. It is really a wakeup call for those involved with espionage and the legal web that is the "War on Terror".

A woman walked out of the theater and asked me "does this really happen"? That in itself speaks of Gavin Hood's masterful achievement.