As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Redacted From My Memory

It's of course silly for Bill O'Reilly to lose his mind over a movie he hasn't even seen, and both Mark Cuban and progressives in general are right to hammer him for it. But I wouldn't get too out in front defending "Redacted," people. Because I saw it last night. And it's a piece of crap.

The movie is a fictional treatment of a highly-publicized incident in Samarra where US soldiers raped a 14 year-old girl and killed her and her family to cover it up (so what's "redacted," exactly; everything in this movie is well-known yet poorly dramatized). There's a movie to be made out of that, about the horrors of war, how it dehumanizes you, and breaks you down, especially if you're on an impossible mission where you can't separate friends from enemies. "Redacted" is not that movie. It just basically drops two psychopaths inside the US military and lets them have their fun. Instead of complexity, instead of trying to understand the situation soldiers face, this is nothing more than a screed.

The acting is from out of a 3rd-grade play, and the simplistic use of video and blogs (the movie is derived from "found footage" of security cams, vlogs, press coverage and eyewitness video from soldiers and insurgent groups) is an insult to viewer intelligence, too. DePalma claims that the script comes right out of the mouths of actual soldiers in Iraq. Not only do I not buy that, it's highly insulting to fall back on some desire for verite to justify a shitty script. You're allowed to add drama and eloquence and half-decent writing. There are all these annoying "video toaster" wipes everywhere, because I guess that's what them amateurs do. And for some reason, the voice of outrage at the rape and murder has to be a militant tatooed woman with a nose ring, as if only people on the so-called "fringes" of society would find such conduct abhorrent.

DePalma already made a movie called Casualties of War which depicted an atrocity by the American military, and he did it with a sufficient amount of dramatic tension. This is just a narrow-minded piece of dreck.

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