Redacted (18)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner12/03/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Impressively directed, powerful drama by Brian DePalma that uses its multiple-source documentary conceit to devastating effect and raises some thought-provoking questions.

What's it all about?
Loosely based on a horrific true-life incident in which American soldiers raped and killed a young Iraqi girl, Redacted centres on a group of US soldiers stationed at a checkpoint in Baghdad during summer 2006. They're a fairly stereotypical bunch: motor-mouthed wannabe film student Salazar (Izzy Diaz) is documenting everything with a video-camera; Blix (Kel O'Neill) is a bookish journalist type; McCoy (Rob Devaney) is their no-nonsense leader and Flake and Rush (Patrick Carroll and Daniel Stewart Sherman) are a couple of bullying meatheads.

After a shocking incident involving a hidden explosive device, the soldiers are angry and frightened, which prompts Flake and Rush to raid the home of a young Iraqi girl they've been frisking on a daily basis. However, their despicable actions have devastating consequences for all concerned.

The Good
DePalma presents the film as a fictionalised documentary, assembled from an astonishing array of sources that includes: Salazar's footage, CCTV, video cameras, minicams, webcams, TV news reports, a documentary, Al-Jazeera TV, a beheading video, YouTube clips and videos posted on Iraqi websites. This is extremely effective, delivering multiple points of view and also subtly making the point that traditional media outlets are ignoring these stories completely.

This isn't exactly new territory for DePalma, as his 1989 drama Casualties of War addressed several similar themes and the film has met with a similarly hostile reception in the States as a result, with some rightwing critics even labelling it Bin Laden cinema.

The Great
The performances are superb, even if the characters remain firmly within their stereotypes. However, perhaps the most unexpected element of the film is the strain of jet-black humour that occasionally rears its head, such as when one of the characters gets kidnapped while videoing himself.

Worth seeing?
It might be heavy-handed in places, but Redacted remains a powerful, moving and thought-provoking film that demands to be seen. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Redacted (18)
Redacted has been reviewed by 1 users
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 22/07/2018 15:52

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films