Friday, 1 November 2013

POST 7: THE NOTION OF POWER as exemplified in Brian De Palma's Redacted movie

The film Redacted, directed by Brian De Palma in 2007, deals with the very controversial issue of the war in Irak. It shows very graphic and horrifying images of American soldiers in the Middle East. This film is based on real events, making it even more alarming. It wants to criticize not only the bad behavior of American soldiers, but also how the truth his hidden from us by the media. In one of the trailers it says:
 "Truth is the first casualty of war." 
This movie is filmed as if it were an American soldier who was filming everything with his own camera, creating a very realistic feeling, making it even harder to watch.
This film is extremely shocking and polemical because it shows the gritty truth, it shows unimaginable things, things that have been kept from us. It can be related to the notion of power because it denounces America's role in this war, how they abused their power to behave extremely badly. It also denounces the horror that was happening and that the media wasn't showing us, this is a kind of power, the power of knowledge and awareness. Technically the media isn't the one to blame, it is the government that controls the media who is really to blame. So we can talk about censorship, and legal restrictions. 

This film is about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers with shocking images that will leave some viewers in tears.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

Made in a deliberately episodic form, Redacted tells various stories about the war in Iraq, ostensibly from different viewpoints. One film portion by a French filmmaker tells the story of U.S. soldiers watching over checkpoints. In another episode, a superior soldier makes a casual mistake dealing with garbage that was set out in a road and is blown to bits. It's all leading to the pivotal rape and murder of the pretty girl who is discovered by the soldiers on a raid of an Iraqi house in order to find evidence. One night, the drunken and mostly morally lost U.S. soldiers discuss going back for the "skank" whom they saw in the house they raided. One soldier straps a camera to his helmet, and the footage of the girl's rape is secured.

The rest of the film mostly deals with measures taken by the army against the criminals. A final scene has a soldier from the criminals' unit confessing to his friends a war story that he will never forget: the plundering and murder of the Iraqi girl.

REVIEW: (All Movie Guide)
In the years following the start of the second Iraq war, numerous filmmakers tried to grapple with the thorny issues at play there. But few made quite so clinical an approach as Brian De Palma in Redacted. Since many of those films were considered misfires, a different approach might not be such abad thingDe Palma presents an array of media -- a French documentary, an al-Qaeda website, a blog by a soldier's wife -- as if stockpiling evidence for a trial designed to determine some kind of universal truth. The story's backbone is the amateur footage shot by a soldier named Angel (Izzy Diaz), who hopes to parlay his observations into acceptance at film school after returning home. Through this we meet the five central characters. All of this is fictitious, of course, leaving Redacted in the category of "fictional documentary." The results can feel simplistic and on the nose, but that's partly intentional. De Palma's scenario is constructed specifically to have an every-soldier feel to it, dealing primarily with the brutal rape of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family. In this way, De Palmaindicts all American soldiers in all wars (accusations of such behavior ran rampant in Vietnam), and even the very mentality engendered by invasions and occupations, regardless of who's doing the invading/occupying. Nor does he let the locals off the hook, intimating that they look the other way when roadside bombs kill American soldiers. De Palma's serious purpose doesn't mean he's overcome by sobriety, however. Some of the camaraderie among soldiers is disturbing, but some is downright funny. In all, the cast of unknowns convinces us they're real grunts just caught up in a cycle far bigger than they are, one that has repeated down through the decades, where no one is really innocent.

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