Peter M Howard ::


14Mar2008 [movies]

It's important to note that Rendition is an American story — the Arabs present are all stereotypes, the actual "North African" location unidentified, and even the subject of the rendition, as an Americanised Egyptian, is a stereotype himself — they all serve as props in this American story.

Given that, it's a very good American story. It's about people trying to justify extraordinary means, and everything they have to do to maintain the myth that justifies that — Meryl Streep's character constructs a bubble around herself, and when Reese Witherspoon threatens to burst that, outright denial is her only option. And it's about what happens to ordinary people when they're forced to engage in cruelty — Jake Gyllenhaal's "It's my first torture" is a brilliant line, especially when it forces Meryl Streep to trot out the old "America doesn't torture" line. And with that, it's about what a country has to go through to maintain the myths about itself — doublespeak at its best.

(An interesting corollary: just today, Bush vetoed a bill (via) that would have outlawed waterboarding, despite the longstanding denials that it's even used — oh except for those couple of times back before 2003 — and we really did get useful information from it... No you can't know what it was... Just trust us).

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