Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: Rendition

2007, Gavin Hood (from Tsotsi to this to Wolverine; in'trestin) -- Netflix

We live in a scary post-9/11 world, not that our respective governments didn't do scary things before that day in 2011, but because they probably ramped up activity. The tossing of human rights for the sake of security is nothing new but something in the last decade made us more aware it was happening, but probably feeling just as impotent conerning it.  The governments state they are performing these heinous acts, in our name, because they say they have to.  If they didn't, we might not feel as safe as we do in North America. And really, we still do feel mostly safe compared to other countries where bombings & street fighting has become a way of life. But questions remains --- is it self-fulfilling prophecy or even just manufactured fear?

North Africa, a bomb is set off near a cafe killing almost everyone in the square, as well as mortally wounding a CIA operative driving past in his SUV. Douglas Freeman (Gyllenhaal) is sitting next to the man and ends up assuming his role.  Meanwhile a man of Egyptian descent gets on a plane in South Africa, returning home to the US from a business trip.  His wife (Reese Witherspoon) waits at the airport for his arrival.  He never does. He has been intercepted and whisked away to that North African country to be "interrogated" by local officials and the CIA.  This is one of those countries that has a deal with the US, where torture is sanctioned and people disappear.

Meanwhile we see the love story between a girl and her boyfriend, she the daughter of the interrogator and he, a terrorist in the making. Well, I guess he is already a terrorist but is more a bomb in the making. This story parallels the story of the actual torture with each plot escalating to a ... well, rather twisty conclusion. SPOILER: Parallels become leads as one story actually becomes the precursor for the other, the daughter & bomber actually being the pair who exploded in the square. It was a fascinating twist, but I was really left wondering why it was even used, as it contributed nothing to the dilemma of torturing an innocent man.  In the end, the man is let go and we are left with no real answers, as I imagine, there are no full answers in these times.