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Rendition (DVD)

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Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Director: Gavin Hood / Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep ... / DVD released 24 March, 2008 at Entertainment in Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      26.08.2010 14:14
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      Watchable

      Being subscribed to Love Film I like to try many films and this one caught my eye.

      It is about an Egyptian-born engineer who disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington. His heavily pregnant American wife, (Reese Witherspoon), travels to Washington to try and learn the reason for his disappearance and where he could be. Meanwhile, her husband is being tortured for inormation as he is a suspected terrorist. A CIA analyst (Jake Gyllenhaal), is forced to question the ethics of his assignment as he becomes party to the interogation.

      Whilst this is a very watchable film and I did enjoy it there was nothing that stood out tremendously in this film. Given the concept in the film and the good actors I think more could have been done with it. I wasn't left feeling any major impact after this film.

      However, one thing I would say is that it left me questionning whether this kind of thing really does happen and hoping that innocent people are not treated in such a manner due to very slim evidence without any legal aid or human rights. The film does raise some very good points with regards to this.

      I did find the fillm a little confusing because there are 2 stories running next to each other, both I thought at the same timescale. Only later do you realise one story is a week previous to the other. Once you figure that out it all slots togethor but for a few minutes I was confused.

      All in all a watchable film but not one I would be pruchasing for my own collection.

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      15.05.2010 18:24
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      Good intelligent thriller

      Rendition is a well paced energetic film that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Myrell Streep. It is a very good thriller and a film that is well worth seeing.

      The film opens with two CIA agents being amongst those caught up in the blast from a suicide bomber attack in a market in the city of Tunis, the target is the local police chief and one of the agents is left dead however analyst Doug Freeman survives, he is played by Gyllenhaal, and he gets to head up the investigation into the attack.

      An American Egyptian called Anwar El Ibrahim played by Omar Metwally comes under suspiscion for masterminding the attack, he is on his way back to America to see his wife who is played by Reece Witherspoon, she is pregnant however he never makes it back as the American secret service intercepts him. Meryl Streep plays an American senator called Whitman and she order him to be sent to Tunisia for interogation of the kind that would not take place legally in America. With his wife trying to get answers back home and Freeman uncomfortable with what he sees going on the film gathers pace as the twists start to happen.

      Streep really does show her class in this film as the other two main leads, Gyllenhaal and Witherspoon appear to be a little out of their depth at times, certainly Witherspoon seems to be a little miscast in this film.

      Having said that it does benefit from an excellent plot with some super twists in it especially the one at the end, the film flips around with the timelines a bit which helps maintain the pace of the film and also keeps you the viewer engaged in the film.

      The whole practice of Rendition is one of those nasty little secrets the governments and agencies would like to have kept secret however it is a story that needs to be told and this film does a good job with it and for that reason it is well worth seeing.

      You can buy a copy of Rendition for £3.92 through Amazon.

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        29.09.2009 15:25
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        An alright film, worth a watch.

        Now I'm undecided about this film, part of me likes it and part of me thinks was that it? It's hard to explain why without giving away major parts of the film - but there are parts I think could have been left out and left us with a better film.

        The cast was excellent and the acting really good I thought (I especially liked Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep). You got drawn into the characters and Gyllenhaal's 'I can't be bothered style of talking and well just being really suited his character.

        So what didn't I like? The ending, I think it sucked, all those wasted minutes and then a rush job of an ending.The plot (I'm still not 100% convinced I get the real plot of the film), the point of Reese Witherspoon lol.

        It is a good film to watch on a saturday night when there's nothing else on, but be warned you do have to think and some parts have subtitles so there's some reading involved.

        For me though, it's not the kind of film I'd keep in my collection to watch again.

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        21.09.2009 14:10
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        Interesting, but flawed

        This one comes in a long line of anti-terrorism films that come in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. In fairness, it fairs better than the big budget turkey World Trade Centre and is more engaging than the well-meaning Flight 91. That said, it isn't as directly involved with that fateful day itself, but opts to reference it many times in a bid to give the film some authenticity and more realism.

        When Douglas Freeman briefs another agent in North Africa, he is caught in an explosion that looks very like it might be a terrorist attack. The target of the attack is an official whose daughter becomes involved with someone who might just be one of the perpetrators of the attack. She unwittingly becomes involved in a group who appear to whip up hysteria and hatred towards the west.

        Meanwhile, in America, a pregnant wife becomes distressed when her husband doesn't arrive home from an overnight flight from Africa. Initially, it looks like a mistake on the part of the airline. However, when she discovers that he used his credit card on the flight, she takes her suspicions to an old friend who works for the Senator. Together, they try to get to Corrine Whitman, a CIA official who has ordered the secret detainment of the passenger, believing him also to be involved in the making of bombs with the intention of terrorist attacks. It is left to Freeman to prove the gentleman's innocence and have him returned to America.

        Rendition is a confusing film, confirmed by the difficulty I had in summarising the plot. There are moments where the film's timeline slips out of place, but it is never explained in the way of a flashback or any kind of narrative distortion. I hadn't even realised that there were moments that played out of place until near the end of the film. Most of the film is in chronological order, so when it suddenly appears to slot in plot points that have already been resolved, I was just baffled.

        The other problem with this film is that there is very little character development. We never learn anything about Corrine Whitman, who is so integral to the plot. Therefore, she is nothing more than a hard nosed official who thinks nothing of removing a man who may well be innocent and destroying his spirit and indeed, his life. Whilst Meryl Streep is a superb actress, she is becoming more and more acquainted with bit parts like this, and they do nothing but increase her bank balance.

        Elsewhere, a brilliant but underused Reece Witherspoon is also given zero character development. Her character is the most sympathetic, given that she is the victim of either a grave misunderstanding or a gross deceit by somebody that she loves. Even when the stress gets too much and causes her to go into early labour, the film refuses to give her an inch. Jake Gyllenhaal gets lead duties, and surprise surprise, his character barely gets a background either. He rarely changes speed, other than to doll out a moment of violence during a brutal interrogation.

        Its hard to sympathise with such a devastating issue when so many of the characters are so hard to digest. Even the likeable one's such as Peter Saarsguard's official is let down badly by the refusal to allow any insight into his character. Director Gavin Hood obviously wanted to create something that was devoid of emotional manipulation, and on that level he has absolutely succeeded. However, with an issue that affects the entire modern world, we should at least be allowed to relate to the more sympathetic characters.

        In Hood's favour, the film looks stunning. Washington plays an integral part, and it is interesting to see the contrast between the built up capital and the any-town of North Africa where most of the brutality takes place. There is also a fair amount to feel claustrophobic about, as the torture scene's play out. Scene's where the missing man is stuffed into a tiny hole are effective and extremely well acted. We're not used to our male protaganists screaming quite so effectively.

        Also in its favour, the film is terse and loaded with tension. The threat of terrorism should never be trivialised, and here it is given a suitably serious work up. What makes it interesting, if you can get by its very basic flaws, is that the film also strands its premise into a mini-revenge thriller. While few of the films threads actually come together to make any lasting statements, as stand-alone plot points, they are extremely well written. With this calibre of cast, excellent writing, and good direction, this film should have been a thought provoking treat. Instead, it merely skims the top of the issue and never really brings the film to a suitable resolve.

        There are some DVD extra's that explain some of the more confusing elements of the film. Had the director been allowed to see through some of his idea's, perhaps things would have been a little clearer. If you are an extra's geek though, you will find them hugely informative and it will give the film an extra slant that it doesn't initially have on its own.

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          03.08.2009 11:23
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          Gripping, but leaving less of an impression than it probably should have

          Rendition look s at the fun new rule where suspected "terror" people can be magically whisked away to an off-shore "interrogation" area without a drop of paper signage or any of that other stuff that brings some semblance of order to the world. Rendition's plot spine is the abduction - sorry, "interception" - of Omar Metwally, and the impact of this event on a whole fistful of people, from a rather gaunt looking Reece Witherspoon (the wife who wonders where the hell her hubbie's gone) to lovely Jake Gyllenhaal experiencing his first time as an American "interrogator", to interrogator Abasi and his battle to keep his daughter Fatima under control and avoid assassination, to Fatima's boyfriend and his friends who have an unsettling knack of convincing people to blow themselves up. Peripheral to all this is Reece's lawyer friend (Peter Sarsgaard) probing where his career suggests he shouldn't, and head of the interceptors Meryl Streep, whose decision it is to 'intercept' Omar in the first place.

          A heck of a lot going on, then, and an impressive handling of the multiple plot strands, each major character getting their turn, and each story just as riveting as the next. Will Reece get any answers? Is her husband guilty? Can Jake take the pressure of this kind of interrogation? Will Abasi find his daughter? And will the boyfriend be convinced to do something pretty stupid? You will want to watch to find out, and there are some craftily unexpected direction-changes to spice things up a bit. Couple that with an excellent cast, a good moral-testing concept (the torturers claiming to have saved hundreds by extracting information in such a way - but the success rate suggesting many innocents have also been questioned) and lovely Jake (superb as ever) and you're on to a winner.

          Or are you? For this multi-stranded flick has a bold angle, but a few niggling faults. Meryl Streep's character is, like Tilda Swinton's in Michael Clayton, a Token Bad Old Woman in Charge. A role we've seen her play many times over. Not a shimmer of humanity flickers behind her icy stare. She represents "the Man" - soulless, uncompromising. It's unashamedly lazy characterisation.

          The multi-plot tactic is also a little unstable. It's a little like having a tray full of peas and spending an hour and a half carefully balancing all the peas on the tray, making sure each pea is nice and stable. Then in the last half hour suddenly ignoring a few of the peripheral peas and letting them fall off, then eventually just tossing the whole tray in the air and going to make yourself a cup of tea.

          But despite the peas and token Evil Head Woman factor, this is still a tight, enjoyable film with some good issues and a great cast.

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          26.07.2009 23:47
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          Intelligent Thriller

          Film only review as my DVD only contained the film, a scene select option and a set up option.

          'Rendition' is a film I had intended to see at the cinema and had never got round to getting the DVD until this weekend. I am annoyed it took me so long to see it as it is as good a movie as I have seen for a while.

          The name of the film refers to the process of capturing and transferring suspected criminals/terrorists without following the normal legal processes, with torture usually then being employed to illicit information from the person captured. The people doing this in the film justify their actions as being necessary in the post 9/11 world, although the process pre-dates that atrocity.

          I think it was the cast of the film which put me off watching this for so long. I generally can't be bothered with Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal is another who doesn't inspire much hope. However, I found both added a lot to the movie and my fears were misplaced. The acting throughout is of a very high standard although you do feel that the likes of Meryl Streep should have been given a lot more screen time.

          The film starts off with Douglas Freeman (Gyllenhall), travelling by car through a town square in Egypt. Caught up in traffic Freeman is caught in the blast of a suicide bomber who was attempting to kill local interrogator Abasi Fawal (Yigal Naor). Shortly after Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) is detained coming off a flight and we see his details being erased from the flight passenger list. El-Ibrahimi is an Egyptian who has lived in America since he was 14 and is suspected of being in contact with known terrorists through his mobile phone records. Being employed as a chemical engineer he is suspected of aiding the terrorists by giving technical knowledge on how to increase the power of the bombs. El-Ibrahimi's wife Isabella (Witherspoon) is waiting on him at the airport and is surprised to see he is not among the arrivals. Unable to get any information, she is told that he did not board the flight, but as she can access his credit card bill and sees that he bought from the duty free on board so he was on the flight. Isabella starts to involve all political contacts she has to track down her husband. However, how much will people be willing to put their own careers on the line when they are unsure of El-Ibrahimi's innocence. Similarly, how well does Isabella know her own husband?

          This is not an easy film to watch. You are viewing difficult situations you would rather not, scenes of torture etc. In addition, the story moves around two time lines, you are never very sure exactly which period you are watching and how it will fit in. Finally, you are constantly challenging your own views on policies like rendition throughout the film.

          The film makers do a brilliant job with this film. There is so little that is black and white in this film, and even at the end you are left with a feeling of confusion and uncertainty over who is innocent and who is guilty throughout. The way the stories of the individuals merge and cross over time is brilliantly thought out and it seems like every character has conflicting reasons for a lot of their actions. I think it would have been a lot easier to tell a story which was cut and dried but there is no sign of the easy way out being taken here. I think the more the story went on the less you were concerned with the individuals in this particular tale, by that point you were reviewing every view you have on terrorism, torture, rendition, etc, regardless of your starting point on each. I am sure that this was a conscious decision by the film makers and it is a highly effective strategy, if a little frustrating in terms of watching a film.

          This is the kind of film which benefits from multiple viewings as it leaves a lot more questions than it answers. Although I have said above that you start to look at the bigger picture I found that more and more aspects of this individual story came back to me in the hours after the film. I always tend to think that this is the sign of a really intelligent thought provoking movie. In fact, it has taken a bit of digging about on imdb message boards to get things clear in my mind.

          It's hard to whole-heartedly recommend this movie. I think if you enjoyed films like the Kingdom, Body of Lies and others of that ilk then you will enjoy this as it is far more intelligent. However, if for example Memento annoyed you then I would steer clear of this one.

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            06.06.2009 09:12
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            Ultimately a weak movie

            FILM REVIEW ONLY

            This political thriller from 2007 deals with one of the hottest political potatoes of the past few years; the rendition flights by the American government of suspected terrorists. It's directed by a South African director Gavin Hood, who given that countries beleaguered history might well know more than most about the issue of human rights.

            The movie is about the policy of "extraordinary rendition" adopted by the US administration during the Clinton Presidency, but which then took on a life of its own after the Islamic terrorist attacks of 9/11.

            It tells the story of one man, a naturalised US citizen from Egypt called Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) who is abducted by the CIA while he is about to take a flight from Cape Town to Chicago. They suspect he is somehow involved in the organisation and planning of a suicide bombing in North Africa (on pretty slim evidence!) and he is transferred to his country of birth (Egypt) for questioning.

            His pregnant American wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) naturally misses him when he fails to turn up at Chicago airport, and eventually enlists the aid of an old college chum Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard) who is now the personal aide to a US Senator to try to find out what has happened to him.

            Meanwhile poor old Anwar is being subjected to all sorts of indignities and tortures by his Egyptian interrogators, all overseen by the CIA agent on the ground in Egypt Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who despite being caught up in the terrorist bomb attack of which Anwar is suspected suffers enormous pangs of conscience about the treatment he is receiving.

            There's a sub-plot involving the head of the Egyptian secret police Abasi Fawal (Igal Naor); the man charged with interrogating Anwar, and the relationship his daughter Fatima is having with her extremist boyfriend Khalid.

            Meryl Streep plays the CIA Director Corrine Whitman, but fails to convince and will hardly consider this one of her finer moments on the silver screen. Likewise, Reese Whitherspoon is weak and insipid as the outraged pregnant wife. The only really worthwhile acting performance is from Omar Metwally as Anwar, who strangely enough is a US citizen of Egyptian extraction in real life.

            Ultimately the movie fails to convince despite the strong cast list, and despite an interesting wee sub-plot that provides a twist in the tail towards the end of the movie.

            **********

            Director: Gavin Hood

            Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard, Omar Metwally, Igal Naor, Zineb Oukach and Moa Khouas.

            Duration: 120 minutes

            **********

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              25.01.2009 23:22
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              A pleasing watch if not one to linger too long.

              Rendtion (2007) could have been a great film. Big names aplenty with Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhal and Meryl Streep all starring. A great plot and really interesting idea looking at recent real events. However this film has too many short comings to achieve greatness.

              Briefly, the plot, Egypitian born (living and settled in Chicago) Anwar El-Ibrahami gets detained coming in on a flight after a business meeting in South Africa. A phone he once owned has been used by a supposed terrorist who the CIA and authorities are looking to get hold of. Believing Anwar to have useful information he is boarded back on a US military plane and flown to a North African detention centre for torture and interrogation.

              Reese Witherspoon (probably the best actress around at the minute) plays Anwars distressed and heavily pregnant American wife. The story is really about her search for information on the whereabouts and wellbeing of her husband.

              The film focuses in on life in America, that of Isabella (Witherspoon) but also life in North Africa the story of the real terrorists. Like Babel, this film again demonstrates how small the world has become with an explosion in Africa directly effecting the lives of Americans.

              So why isn't this a great film then. Well in my opinion this feels a little too Hollywood and too clean. The scenes in Africa are good and fairly atmospheric - it is the scenes in America that seem all too twee. Reese Witherspoon is, as ever, good in her role but has been given a fairly dull, cliche ridden script. Meryl Streep, in her role as Corrine Whitman, a senior US senator is given an even lamer duck to play.

              Babel a film which is kind of similar feels much more authentic and atmospheric (whilst Babel is by no means perfect). This just feels a little too clinical with the divide between those in power as wrong and the meek as all good, too obvious.

              That said this is a watchable film with an interesting twist along the way. Would I buy this film. Possibly not but one to rent at least.

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                25.01.2009 18:05
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                An ok film that could have been great

                Rendition is another political film that is certain to get the tongues wagging. The film is based around kidnap and interrogation of terrorist subjects. The controversial subject of the film is what made me interested in watching it but did it open my mind to anything new, in one word, no!

                **The Plot**

                CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is in North Africa when a suicide bomber kills his boss and many other members of the public. The bombers target was a well known interrogator at a local prison Abis (Yigal Naor) however he was unharmed.

                From this point the film follows the kidnap and detention of Egyptian born Anwar (Omar Metwally). He is a chemical engineer and lives with his wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) and son in Chicago. Anwar is kidnapped whilst leaving his flight home and detained in a secret prison. He is interrogated by Abis and the interrogation is overseen by Douglas.

                Anwar has been linked with a terrorist gang back in North Africa and is stripped and tortured in a bid to get more information out of him. Back home Isabella is distraught as she has not been informed of what has happened to her husband and make is her mission to get to the bottom of her husbands disappearance.

                Douglas is shocked at the nature of the torture as it is the first time he has witnessed anything like this. His boss Corrine Whitman (Merryl Streep) is adamant that the torture continues until they get the information out of Anwar about this terrorist group.

                The film splits between the lives of Anwar's family in North Africa and his home life and torture in America. Will they get any information out of this man and is this long standing respected American citizen really linked to a terrorist gang?

                **My Thoughts**

                I am the first to admit that I don't always pay much attention to the start of films as it takes me a while to get into them, big mistake on this film! You really do need to concentrate at the start or else you will miss some critical moments that will help you understand the rest of the film! I was lost in about twenty minutes so luckily my frend had been paying attention and filled me in!

                Ok, so now I knew what was going on and who was who I started to relax into the film! The torture of Anwar is really not as brutal in the film as I thought it was going to be. Whilst the dark and dingy setting in the secret prison adds to the fear of the suspect the torture is unpleasant to watch but not unbearable. You cannot help but feel Anwars pain and innocence throughout his terrible ordeal and the small concrete cell he is kept in is enough to make any claustrophobic shiver with fear!

                The plot I felt was very slow in its overall pace and I found it quite hard to follow who was who and doing what, especially with the violent terrorist group members and family in North Africa. I thought that the film jumped around a bit too much throughout the film and didn't flow very well.

                The acting was good enough however I felt that Reese Witherspoon was given a very poor role in this film. I am used to seeing her in 'chick flicks' such as Legally Blonde but I do like her as an actor and felt she could have been given a more dynamic role to play in the film. All she seems to do is cry in her short scenes and the pregnant bump she has looks more like a football stuffed up her top! Surely the Hollywood props department could have done better than this comical bump!

                **Summary**

                Overall I felt that this film had all the ingredients and the plot to make it a truly stunning and memorable film but I was disappointed. I found the film very hard to follow in what was relatively a basic plot. It tries to follow the lives of too many characters and fails to focus on the main actors.

                I did quite like the film and in places I really felt quite drawn into it. Unfortunately these moments were few and far between. With a great cast such as this I found the acting to be good but the film really quite boring.

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                  24.01.2009 14:48
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                  A man is shipped off to an undisclosed location and subjected to torture as the CIA look for answers

                  I just typed this up for as a quick review on Lovefilm and decided it might be worth sharing here as well, so I hope it helps. Here's my brief review on the political thriller, Rendition...

                  Just as a brief introduction to cover the main other info. I add to most of my movie reviews nowadays, cast and crew credits can be found on IMDB and other sites, for IMDb the link is http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0804522/fullcredits

                  The story basically surrounds a suicide bomber who blows up in a foreign country and an American government official is killed in the blast. The CIA believe they know someone who might have links to the terrorists behind this attack, an Egyptian American who's flying from South Africa on his way home to the US to go back to his wife and son as he'd been out on a work related trip. He's taken in by the government, who take him away to a secret location outside the US where he's subjected to sensory deprivation and torture, in an attempt to get him to talk, while his wife worries why he didn't turn up at the airport when she went to pick him up.

                  The movie is a gritty political thriller and the story is based on something that apparently has happened before, whereby people suddenly seem to 'disappear' and are taken to undisclosed detention centres outside of the US where government employees inflict torture on them in an effort to lead them to intelligence (of course its very questionable whether such intelligence could be seen as really credible but all the same, it has apparently been done, think an angry Jack Bauer running Guantanemo Bay, something like that, kind of, or thats the image that comes to my mind anyway).

                  This is quite a thought provoking movie and it is fairly haunting at times. Its certainly not overly easy viewing, put it that way. Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal give good performances, with Omar Metwally as the accused.

                  Torture is, of course, brutal and this movie I felt wasn't too Hollywood, it did make it quite clear (or certainly clear enough) that some pretty real suffering that can go on, without it being so graphic that you feel its perhaps exploitative. I thought that there were good performances given as I say, the movie is also good in that it covers both the story/side of the man accused and subjected to torture and his wife Isabella, as well as the story behind what actually happened at the terrorist event that led to the accused being sent away and tortured for information, where some good character development takes place to portray to the viewer some regular citizens, this story is quite good I thought.

                  War (such as the war on terrorism) is an ugly thing and this movie feels quite realistic and provides an insight into something that did (does?) apparently go on behind closed doors. It is a good movie but you do need to be concentrating to fully follow the plot and be aware that there's a fair amount of subtitles in this movie too, which might put some people off it, thats used during the scenes covering characters involved with the terrorist event, which appears to be set in somewhere like Morocco or Egypt (I cant remember if it said exactly where it was(?)). There is quite an 'American' feel to it of course in as much as the accused is an American citizen, although he was originally born in Egypt and another character who plays a pivotal role as far as making a moral decision is concerned, he's American too, so your almost left thinking well, its the American government who gave this procedure the go ahead in some form and yet its the same people who try to point out how wrong it is, which is perhaps a bit confusing(?) but there again maybe its good that such movies can be made that are able to criticise such actual government procedures, to highlight things that we may not be so aware of otherwise.

                  So, would I recommend it? well I think the movie itself is quite good, so yes I think I would. It makes you think and it is a bit haunting at times, its also gripping at points too, though it is quite long at about two hours long but as a fairly solid political thriller, its worth a watch, if you don't mind following subtitles and keeping your wits about you to follow the plot right through. It is quite realistic and its certainly something to think about, knowing that such things have apparently happened... some of the tactics used by the US or/and UK governments in the war against terrorism may not appeal or even seem fair or legal to the general population, to us movie goers but given the very high stakes in such a war, if there's the chance that by using such a tactic to gain the intelligence that just may lead to stopping an attack and thus saving hundreds or thousands of lives, does that chance make it worth the while? its a moral dilemma for the somewhat freedom obsessed Western world, I suppose and if this is something that interests you at all then again yes, I would recommend the movie to you.

                  Thank you for reading my review, I hope you found it useful, even if it is a bit brief. This review is in part posted on Lovefilms site too, under the same name.

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                    05.12.2008 18:28
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                    A very middle of the road film, which won't bore, but it won't excite either.

                    Drawing in (or cashing in?) on general public horror at the practice of so called 'Extraordinary Rendition' this film, at least in terms of storyline does disappoint. It tells a fairly basic story of a man (the excellent Omar Metwally) being interregated over allegations of terrorism, under the watchful eye of the rookie CIA agent (Jake Gylenhaal) It is made abundently clear from the outset that the man is innocent, which kills the film. There is no attempt to weave in a storyline which may or may not suggest guilt. Of course this would have made no difference to the abhorrance as to the treatment of Metwally's character, but it would at least create a bit of intrigue.

                    Visually, some of the cinematography is quite stunning, and the addition of subtitles to complement the Arabic speech, rather than just have the actors speak in dodgy Middle Eastern accents is a nice touch. This makes watching the film a pleasing visual and cultural experience, however the hole left by the lack of the story line is still abundant.

                    I have read some reviews saying the torture scenes are rather difficult to sit through, but I must admit I wasn't too fussed by the scene, and I am ususally totally rubbish with violence! So I would be quite comfortable with someone under 15 years old (the films certificate) watching this film.

                    Near the end of the movie, there is a slight twist regarding the narrative of the film. It is quite a neat addition, sadly the change in narrative doesn't answer any questions or queries raised earlier in the film (of which there are none) or make a twist in the storyline significant enough to alter the viewers take on the film.

                    Much like another Jake Gyllenhaal film, 'The Day After Tomorrow', when the final credits roll up, you get an overwhelming realisation that there was no real storyline in the film you had just watched. This is quickly followed by a sense of disappointment, which leaves you feeling rather underwhelmed.

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                      08.09.2008 14:42
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                      Suprisingly good movie which will keep you more than entertained.

                      I added Rendition to my Tesco Rental list mainly because you have to have 10 movies queued and i couldnt think what else to put on so when it arrived through the post i didnt have high expectations.

                      How i was so wrong....

                      The movie was absolutly fantastic, the genre is becoming increasingly more popular since 9/11 and for those who dont know the movie is about terrorism and the unknown steps believen to be taken by high up people in america to stop terrorism.

                      I will not go into too much on the plot as i dont want to give anything away but overall the acting was brilliant the story was deep it had great twists (which may take a few moments to catch up on) and the movie felt hardcore yet true.

                      Overall the movie keeps you watching by begging the question on who is right and how does everything tie together.
                      Also you will be glad to hear everything does tie up so dont worry that the film gets you asking so many questions and then answers them with the worst ending possible.

                      I would recomend this movie to anyone who wants something different yet intriguing, what happens feels harsh but deep down you know this is real life.

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                        20.08.2008 18:09
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                        Make your own mind up

                        Anwar El-Ibrahimi is detained by government agents after getting off a flight home, and is taken to Egypt, where a terrorist bombing has just occurred and he is suspected to have information on it. Whilst Anwar is being tortured for information, his US pregnant wife Isabella is at home not knowing where he is, or what has happened to him and is determined to find out. Douglas Freeman is a CIA operative, who is experiencing the unorthodox form of interrogation for the first time whilst it is being done to Anwar, and is questioning whether it is right or not, and whether or not Anwar is guilty or not. Meanwhile the other half of the film focuses on an Egyptian couple, one of whom is the daughter of the Egyptian man running the interrogations.

                        Anwar is played by Omar Metwally (Munich) and his acting is great in the film. As a viewer we're never really given a chance to fully understand or know the character of Anwar, everything is left up to our own interpretations so we don't really begin to indentify with him or have firm view about him. However, acting wise, Omar Metwally conveyed the sheer horror of the situation he found himself in perfectly and very realistically. Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde) plays Isabella and is great in the role. I think Reese Witherspoon is great at taking on different roles from her air head Legally Blonde character, to her innocent naïve Cruel Intentions character, to the absolutely distraught yet strong character here in Rendition. She portrays the emotions of a pregnant woman who does not know what has happened to her husband or why perfectly. Imagine your husband randomly goes missing, from getting on the plane at one end and never turning up at the other. Then imagine later finding out the man you love, the father of your children, is a suspected terrorirst. Reece Witherspoon portrays the sheer horror of this situation perfectly, and acts so realistically. She really does well, and it's hard not to feel more for her character and what she's going through, than what Anwar himself is going through. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the CIA operative Douglas Freeman and he also plays this role well, showing his discomfort and self questioning as to what is right and wrong perfectly.

                        I initially went into this film not knowing as much as what you do now, although I assure you, I've not told you anything that isn't in some trailers, or in the main plot synopsis. I haven't ruined anything, in fact you've been enlightened just the right amount. I however, wasn't. I saw a trailer showing Reese Witherspoon saying you can't just get on a plane in one country, and not get off at the other side. I was expecting something along the lines of Flightplan or The Forgotten. Now I've never seen Flightplan, but have heard bad things about it. The Forgotten started out well and ended horrendously, so I was thinking here perhaps is the same idea but done better. I wasn't aware that I was essentially watching a terrorist torture movie.

                        Within five minutes of the movie starting and showing the viewer what had happened to Anwar, I soon realized it wasn't going to be a mystery, as in what has happened to him, as we see everything right from the outset. For this reason I was initially disappointed. However putting aside the film was completely different to what I had been expecting, it wasn't a bad film.

                        What is worth noting is that at least 50% of this film is Egyptian and subtitled, which again was something I wasn't expecting. This was fine and easy enough to follow, but it makes it one for having to concentrate on rather than just sit back and immerse yourself in.

                        The Egyptian storyline of the couple was actually the main storyline in my opinion. Although wherever you look, including my synopsis at the start, all that seems to be mentioned is the Anwar/Isabella story, it's actually quite a small part of the film compared with the Egyptian storyline.

                        The film doesn't spoon feed you, which some of you will like but it did leave me not caring too much. It's nice when a film leaves you to decide something's for yourself, think a bit more deeply about it, but although there was things to make up your own mind about, it didn't interest me and enthrall me enough to care what had really happened that wasn't shown on screen. I felt a bit like oh this may or may not have happened, so what, I don't really care.

                        I by no mean's didn't dislike the film, it was okay but it isn't one I'd rush to watch again, or that left me thinking about it for a long time after or wanting to discuss it. It was okay, but plot wise, I felt nothing too outstanding happened.

                        Okay there was the shock factor of the torture scenes, and the pondering of what really goes on in the world that we aren't too aware of. As for the plot itself though, it was okay but it wasn't completely exciting to me. I wasn't always wondering what was coming next or how it would all turn out. I didn't feel for the characters as if they were real, as if I knew or wondered what their lives were like before the film started, or imagine how they would be after the film ends. With really good characters that seem real this happens and makes you care for them and believe in them enough to really get caught up in there story. Here there was nothing wrong with the characters as such, but they along with the storyline weren't as compelling as I would have liked. Everyone does what they should, acts how they should and the story moves along as its supposed to but it feels just like that, everyone is just doing what they are supposed to, going through the motions, there is no real heart behind any of it.

                        I think if you are interested in terrorist stories or political messages then this may appeal to you more. If you have a firm sense of right and wrong, or a sense of when torture is acceptable for the greater good, or whether it never is, then you are likely to take away more from this film. On a personal level, I guess I don't feel too strongly or claim to know best about any of these things, so without that "this is wrong!" mentality, or "this is what it has come to" acceptance, it leaves me not feeling an awful lot about it, which then makes it not such an interesting watch for me, but for a lot of people this will raise issues they have strong opinions on and therefore be much more interesting to watch and discuss.

                        I found that the back story of the Egyptian couple was much more powerful than the more American storyline. We got to know the characters more, care more, and see what it's really (okay it's just a film but...) like for these particular people who are living in an area where a terrorist attack is occurring. The problem with the US storyline was that there were no problems with it, but no real depth to it either.

                        There was one part of the movie that was quite clever and brought an "ahh...." moment of realization which I really enjoyed, but other than that it didn't really gain any other strong emotions for me. I wasn't crying for Reese Witherspoon's character, I wasn't curling away in horror for Anwar's character, I wasn't empathizing with Douglas Freeman's character. I was just observing, and not really caring much what happened to anyone.

                        It's been described as "powerful", "masterful" and "thought provoking" which unfortunately for me, was exactly what it wasn't. It was okay, it wasn't boring, it moved along well but it didn't leave a last impression. A lot of people seem to believe this is some sort of message for us all to sit up and realize what is going on in the world and do something about it, which is about the most stupid thing I've heard. If this was some sort of revelation about the US Government, I highly doubt it would have been allowed to be released, and if it isn't fictional as people are suggesting (may I add it is fictional) then what on earth do these people think they are going to be able to do about it? That's just the thing, I think people feel all powerful and important with their views after watching it, when really what watching it would suggest, is even if this was going on on your own front doorstep, affecting a member of your family, you would be powerless to do anything. It isn't a "right on" let's all change type film, if anything the message is, whatever happens, we regular people in reality have no control over. This in itself might spark off emotions in some people, but being quite a selfish person myself, I doubt I'll care until the day it happens to someone I know, which given my social circle, I would think it is safe to say is highly unlikely.

                        I think if you are interested in the issues this film raises you could get a lot from watching it. If you're not, I don't think you'll dislike the film, there's nothing really to dislike, but I doubt you'll be blown away. You need to have interest in the issues, or at least have some sort of caring nature towards people you know hardly anything of, to fully experience this film, and I myself don't have either. For me it wasn't a great film, but for some people I imagine it will be.

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                          08.08.2008 01:05
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                          Poor post 9/11 movie

                          Americans have made loads of films about the post-9/11 world. The majority of these films are total drivel, and this action/ thriller adds nothing to this particular genre.
                          Basically Witherspoons husband is taken from his plane and tortured followi...(read more) ng an explosion in a crowded marketplace in Egypt.
                          All it was basically saying was the rendition and torture were wrong. I say if you get yourself into a situation like that -you're probably guilty anyway. However, this is Hollywood and everyone who goes to prison or jail is innocent.
                          Nothing really happens for about an hour and forty minutes, Gyllenhaal and Witherspoon are as cardboard as the recycling bin at Tescos while Arkin and Streep are wasted in supporting roles.
                          Really, I wouldn't bother if I were you. It really does grate sometimes when you've rented a film to watch and it turns out to be as bad as this!

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                            30.07.2008 12:04
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                            The DVD Rendition

                            Rendition
                            What if someone you love.... just disappeared

                            That is the tag line for the 2007 British movie Rendition. My husband and I watched this DVD at the weekend and I have to say it was not what I expected but a very powerful and moving story. It is described at this:
                            "When a man mysteriously vanishes from an overseas flight his disappearance sends shockwaves all the way to the nation's capital. Desperate for the truth, his wife begins a search for the missing man which leads a CIA unit head and a novice agent into an international web of deceit, conspiracies and top-secret truths, far more frightening than the lies that conceal then. An intelligent thriller with intrigue, smarts and a great cast."

                            Basically the man suffers from a case of mistaken identity and is taken by the CIA to an underground vault in North Africa where he is tortured for his apparent participation in terrorist activities. The torture was very realistic and disturbing at times. There has been lots in the news in the last couple of years about torture subjects and even though the US deny this, it could be true, who knows. The movie is actually based on a true story of Khalid El-Masri who was mistaken for Khalid al-Masri. It's amazing how one little letter could subject a man to such horrific abuse. The actor (Omar Metwally) played this part well as there was such terror in his eyes as he knew he had done nothing wrong. Reece Witherspoon plays his wife. She didn't really have that big of a part which is unusual for her as she is usually the leading lady but she played her part well.
                            Rendition is a an actual term which in law is a "surrender" or "handing over" of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another. Extradition is the most common type of rendition when it is concerned with criminal suspects.

                            There is a parallel story going on at the same time involving the interrogator and the relationship he has with his daughter and her boyfriend and the boyfriends pursuit of honour and revenge, culminating in a suicide bombing. As these seem to be happening frequently in other parts of the world at the moment this perhaps gives us an insight into why it is happening.
                            The cast is good. Jake Gyllenhall (Reece's real life boyfriend) plays an agent who doesn't seem too comfortable with this level of torture and eventually does something about it. Meryl Streep plays a high ranking CIA head and she's very cold and calculating, what you have to be I guess in a position like that but she plays it well too. I wouldn't like to find myself on the wrong side of her that's for sure.

                            I think this movie definitely needed to be made as it had a very important story to tell or message if you like. If you're looking for a Hollywood feel good thriller then this is not it but I would recommend this film if you are interesting in current affairs.
                            I bought this DVD for £9 from Woolworths. It runs for 117 minutes and is rated 15 due to strong violence, language and scenes of torture and some of the extras include, The making of rendition, deleted scenes and feature commentary with director Gavin Hood.

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                          • Product Details

                            Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon star in this timely thriller about a woman whose husband is kidnapped and taken to a foreign prison because he is suspected of being a terrorist. Gavid Hood, director of Academy Award winner TSOTSI, helms this film that also features Alan Arkin, Meryl Streep, and Peter Sarsgaard.