Rendition

by

*Minor spoiler alert*

Mr. Chili and I rented Rendition last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The official blurb on the back of the DVD says; When a man mysteriously vanishes from an overseas flight, his disappearance sends shockwaves all the way to the nation’s capitol. Desperate for the truth, his wife begins to search for the missing man, which leads the CIA unit head and a novice agent into an international web of deceit, conspiracies, and top-secret truthes far more frightening than the lies that conceal them. “An intelligent thriller with intrigue, smarts, and a great cast,” Rendition stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Resse Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, and Meryl Streep.

Mrs. Chili says that it wasn’t quite what the back of the box would have you believe, but it WAS a good movie.

The film carries three distinct story lines – the aforementioned missing man, an unnamed “northern African country” dealing with Islamist extremists, and the daughter of a jail official in that unnamed country who runs away after being told that her marriage (to someone other than the boy she loves) has already been arranged. Each of these stories is connected, of course, but not as strongly as the write-up would have us believe.

I remember seeing the preview for this film and choking up when Witherspoon’s character pleads for information about her missing husband.

For me, the crux of the story was that angle; someone she loved was missing when he shouldn’t have been (there was credit card evidence of his having been on the incoming flight). No one would tell her anything – she had no way of finding anything out. The stonewalling, especially by Streep’s character (who was a perfect bitch, by the way) was profoundly infuriating.

Sadly, though, I don’t think that this plot line was played to its best advantage. Witherspoon didn’t convince me as the determined wife, and I kept thinking that I would certainly not be content to sit on a couch in a congressman’s waiting room, waiting for someone to tell me that there’s nothing they could do to help me find my missing husband, but that’s just me.

We watch as Gyllenhaal’s character acts as an “observer” to the “interrogation” of our missing husband, and as he grows more and more disturbed by what he sees (and what his country condones). He oversteps his boundaries as an analyst – it’s mentioned several times that he’s not a field agent and is only in the position he’s in because his field agent was killed in the bombing that touched the whole movie off. He manages to do the right thing in the end, though we wonder what it costs him, both personally and professionally, after the final credits roll.

The last story line (which, it could be argued, is really the first) involves the young Fatima, her boyfriend Khalid, and her father, Abasi Fawal, who happens to run the secret prison to which our missing husband has been sent for his “interrogation.” I’m not going to say much about this story line, though, because I  promised only minor spoilers. Just know that there’s a time shift in this thread of the story, so pay attention.

When all is said and done, I’d give this movie a solid B. It tugged at my tender emotions, it encouraged a little adrenaline flow, and it inspired more than a little humanitarian outrage in me. I’d buy this movie from a bargain bin; it’s worth seeing again.

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2 Responses to “Rendition”

  1. kwizgiver Says:

    I have *got* to see this!

  2. Grammar Snob Says:

    I sort of hate it when the back of the DVD misleads me. Still sounds worth renting, though. It’s on my list.

    ~Snob

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