April 9, 2008

Rendition - $8

Rendition is a well executed movie with a political statement to make. For me it was very effective.

Rendition is the story of an Egyptian man who has lived in the US for 20 years and has a family there. As part of a terrorist investigation this man is taken while on a business trip and handed over to American officials who utilize a process called Rendition to send him to a country where they can have him tortured. There is also a connected story which follows the life of the torturer and his struggles to save his relationship with his daughter who has run away to avoid an arranged marriage.

This is well made movie, the settings are convincing and the story is intense and captivating. There are several effective twists and turns and a great ending. There's really nothing brilliant here but it's very good.

As I've said before on this site I'm really into performances and while the acting is good in Rendition, nobody amazed me.

All in all this one of the better options on an otherwise underwhelming rental shelf these days. I put Rendition on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $8.


Dave McG said...

Does political content ever reach an annoying point? I would be interested in your thoughts on politics in cinema.

Tony Tanti said...

dave, the short answer is yes. Political content can be annoying, it can also be powerful. For me it depends on whether the point is being shoved down my throat or if both sides are being presented in a fair way. Truthfully it also helps if I agree with the point.

Cinema is as legitimate a medium to make a statement as anything, but like any medium the point can be made poorly or effectively.

Rendition did a good job to me, an easy example of a movie that did an awful job is Shooter.

Dave McG said...

For me I would say that 9/10 I am not interested in a film that has an axe to grind, but it can work. I think saying that Cinema is as legitimate as anything else might be a little too easy. But I think we agree for the most part.

To me this movie looked like the worst kind of political drama, so I was surprised by your review and wanted to hear more. It seemed like it was from the same family as the valley of elah, road to guantanamo etc.

Tony Tanti said...

I don't know, I'm not sure why cinema would have less of a right to make a statement as another medium. Then again maybe you think 9/10 musicians and writers miss the mark too. You'd likely be right.

Rendition surprised me too and the low expectations probably helped. The politics in it are realistic and unfortunately I imagine the torture and the flimsy grounds used to carry it out probably are too.

jon said...

i think this was a good movie too. i like films that are political, just as i like ones that aren't. are there too many lately? probably. but there are too many of a great many movie types.

movies are always presenting an angle on something, be it political or otherwise. it is annoying to me when it is badly done or too preachy or not honest enough, in any genre.

this one was pretty well done i thought. i felt like i was getting an "angle" but also having my eyes opened to a culture, a moral dilemma, and so on. i like that. not in every movie, but when its done well, i like it. this one did good. not great, but quite good.

jon said...

dave mcg: 9/10 times you don't like a film with an axe to grind?

don't they all?

Dave McG said...

Okay, sorry about my delay on replying. In regards to my axe to grind comment, I am referring to when a filmaker is presenting an intentionally skewed view in order to air some of their own dirty laundry. It is the duty of an artist to stay true to reflecting what they see and not changing what they see to fit what they want. It seems to me that any film made about the iraq war will either be saying the exact same thing as every other film on the subject or it will be mired in the left vs right argument. if the latter is the case then the movie will be more about hitting out at the other side than touching on anything interesting and important. I think it is a bad idea to make these films at this point in history, further down the road it will be important to reflect on. Right now it is like many of these 'documentaries' that have been so popular in recent years, preaching to the choir, they aren't trying to say anything that their audience doesn't already know or support.

jon said...

thats a fantastic point dave, i can't disagree with you. all i was bringing up was that i think every artist is saying something about something, although i agree that they ought to be honest and fair and not skew things too much. art can be pretty manipulative.

i'm not sure it is the artists duty to stay true to what they see. if it was they'd all be photographers wouldn't they?

but anyway, i'm sounding argumentative. i agree with you about those lame documentaries made to ra-ra the crowd. so dumb.

thing is, isn't it kind of true that a movie (story) can often give a better picture of the issue at hand than mere reporting of information? so if a film manages to present the complexity of a current event/scenario, might that not be a helpful thing? i think of babel. there was no direct current event i felt like it was preaching about, but it sure gave me insight into the global village reality.

and some of the movies on iraq-related issues might prove helpful for us to see the complexity of the situation, no?

you certainly don't get that on the news! that's the travesty here.

anyway i thought rendition kind of did that, but at the same time i realize there was a ton of sub-text against the current govt's torture activities.

okay i'm done.