Product DetailsBrian De Palma’s ferocious Redacted is one of a number of cinematic protests against the Iraq War and the withholding of information and images about the war from the U.S. public. But it is also shares De Palma’s perennial interest in the relationship between film and violence, a relationship that has changed significantly in the real world because of the Internet, cable news, and the ubiquity of camcorders on the ground in Iraq. In a world more intent than ever on watching everything, De Palma has fashioned Redacted to look like a daisy chain of found footage taken from disparate sources. These include an American soldier’s video journal (which, not insignificantly, is also supposed to be that soldier’s audition piece for film school), a French documentary, a security camera at the edge of an army compound, and streaming video online from insurgents and military families alike. Taken together, Redacted recreates the kind of Iraq War scenes we’ve heard about for years: soldiers kidnapped or felled by booby traps, pregnant women and children shot by American guards at military checkpoints because Iraqi drivers misunderstand orders, etc. With mood and setting firmly established, Redacted then tells the story of an atrocity ripped from headlines in 2006: the rape and murder of an Iraqi teen, as well as the murder of her family, by American soldiers who then proceed to cover up their crime. Meanwhile, other soldiers, well-meaning witnesses to what happened, implode with doubt and uncertainty about what to do. In a way, Redacted is really about the paralysis of ordinary Americans confronted by the horror of our collective misjudgment about Iraq. It's a work of fiction using actors, meaning that De Palma employs a verisimilitude which sometimes doesn’t sit well with anyone who has seen a lot of Iraq War documentaries featuring real troops and real Iraqis. But De Palma is trying to do something very difficult, i.e., make the case that in war, truth really is the first casualty.
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