Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rendition (2007)

I looked the movie up on and was only to happy to see the quote I loved and decided to start the piece with it.

“In all the years you've been doing this, how often can you say that we've produced truly legitimate intelligence? Once? Twice? Ten times? Give me a statistic; give me a number. Give me a pie chart, I love pie charts. Anything, anything that outweighs the fact that if you torture one person you create ten, a hundred, a thousand new enemies.”

Rendition is named after a legal jargon of the same name wherein United States security agencies outsource their torture of terrorism suspects to countries that are more lenient to more ‘physical methods’ of persuasion. The quote mentioned above was said by one of the main characters questioning the practice.

This film deserves the highest credit for being relevant to the times as it tackles sensitive issues especially torture. Would you torture a suspected terrorist for information? But often there is the argument that dehumanizes suspects. Why should it bother you that a terror suspect is tortured? And that is often followed by- maybe you’re a terrorist yourself for showing pity to these people.

Hard questions. I certainly won’t have pity on a man who will be so willing to blow himself up or order others to do the same. But on the chance that I am wrong what will I do? Let him go or kill him, and yes, I will most likely create enemies as stated by the quote above. What makes a person guilty anyway with this method called ‘rendition’? Oh yes did I mention there was no trial.

Rendition has a good cast of actors but my applause goes to husband and wife, Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) and Isabella Fields El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon). Both have ably shown the emotions that come with being the wife of a husband who disappeared and accused of being a terror suspect; and being a man who was tortured, wondering if he’ll see his wife and child again.

The film had this flashback that seemed highly irrelevant but placed as the movie’s special twist. Even now I question, what the point of that flashback is, but, with all the relevant legal, moral, ethical, political and practical pitfalls of rendition that this movie has brought into light I guess I can overlook a bad movie timeline.

As I end this piece let me use a quote I have used before: He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

If blowing planes and killing innocents can be considered as monstrous, what can be said of a government picking people off the streets? If it’s the right thing to do then everyone should take part in it.

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