Monday, February 02, 2009


A Different rendition of Rendition

Remember the movie “Rendition”? Meryl Streep? Reese Witherspoon?

That’s okay – I didn’t see it either. But I do remember those annoying reviews which seemed to coalesce around the idea that even though the movie sucked, the message was an important one:

“So “Rendition” is a well-meaning, honorable movie. Which is not to say that it is a very good one. …

“But all its clumsy efforts are toward an honest and difficult goal, which is to use the resources of mainstream movie-making to get viewers thinking about a moral crisis that many of us would prefer to ignore. Of course it’s disappointing when such efforts don’t succeed, but I wouldn’t want to live in a country where filmmakers never tried.” When a Single Story Has a Thousand Sides -

“How do you take one of the most pressing issues of the day — the American government flying terror suspects off to foreign countries where they can be tortured and held indefinitely without benefit of trial — and turn it into a turgid, obvious melodrama? See “Rendition” if you really want to know.” ‘Rendition’ feels like a Lifetime movie - At the movies-

Rendition is a fictional drama, not a documentary. But it reflects known facts about rendition - a policy, sanctioned by the US president, which involves the systematic, wilful violation of the US international laws constitution and the Bill of Rights and the rule of law; as well as being illegal under the against kidnapping and torture.” Rendition, the movie/

I especially like that last one. Here’s more from that same review:

“Watch this film. It brings home the lawlessness and inhumanity of the so-called war on terror. It reveals why so much of the world hates the hypocrisy of the US, which preaches liberty but often practises tyranny. It exposes the way the US government is trampling on human rights. It shows why President Bush should be put on trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of kidnapping and torture.”

Well, apparently things have Changed in the last two weeks:

Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool - Los Angeles Times
“The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.” (h/t

So...maybe a sequel wherein a grateful world is taught by a new-and-incredibly brilliant US President that keeping us all safe from terrorism is a complex process. Properly chastened by this exposure of their incredible naïveté, his fellow citizens of the world agree that he should be in charge of everything.

Of course it’s disappointing that we’re not already there but I wouldn’t want to live in a country where filmmakers stop trying to get us there.

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