What a great film. Even if this is only showing the negatives of what has happened in this war, it's valuable. De Palma, known for such films as most notably 1983s, "Scarface", and "Casualty of War" with Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox, has revisited the situation from that previous Vietnam era film about rape in war and how the dehumanizing effects of war lead to war crimes in an environment that makes moral accounts unqualified muddy affairs.
Brian de Palma on setI heard Redacted was a good movie so I queued it up on Netflix. I watched it, unsure of the film as it went along. Then toward the end, it barreled forward on me and when the end hit I was sitting there like someone had hit me in the face with a mallet. That surprised me and confused me. I couldn't figure out why until I saw who had directed it and then it all made sense.
One of the things this film drove home was what the Iraqi people (and therefore, others in this situation) have suffered through. I don't take this film as an indictment of what all our troops have done in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere, but it did drive home how this kind of thing is possible, and that anything can be possible when dealing with this kind of situation and these kinds of numbers of people; something typically will happen. And if it can happen once, well....
Think about your local school bully. Now, give him a gun and an unaccountable situation; free range to satiate his more base desires, in a country where so much is forbidden.
The images of the Iraqi family being intruded upon by soldiers, for apparently the right reasons, in searching for a terrorist killer, then later, intruding on this family for no reason other than lust, is sad, fear invoking, immoral and unbelievable, but this kind of thing does happen. It happens here at home, it happens far away in a war situation even more easily. This is based on a true story after all.
It is worth struggling through this kind of film just to remind yourself of why war is hell and why we need to stop doing it, allowing it.
Two interesting bits of trivia according to IMDB:
Magnolia Films requested that Brian De Palma blacked out the faces of dead Iraqis in the disturbing photo montage at the end of the film. It was feared that families of the dead could sue.
The genesis of the film began when HDNet Films approached Brian De Palma in 2006 to make a film with only two strings attached: it had to be shot for $5 million and on HD