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The Mass Media

Political Picture

var uslide_show_id = “0bea48b8-4b40-42be-a1a1-6b5f80e8a8b4”;var slideshowwidth = “468”;var linktext = “”;Political movies seem to be popping up more frequently in the theaters these days. Moviegoers have witnessed countless satires directed toward certain politicians in power, and criticisms of many facets of the government have been appearing regularly.

It is up to us, the American audience, to discern which of these plots we can discover truth in, and which just include notable performances. Rendition, directed by Gavin Hood, provides viewers with aspects of both, but falls somewhat short in other areas.

The film begins by introducing us to Anwar El-Ibrahimi, played by Omar Metwally. El-Ibrahimi is an accomplished man with a family comprised of a pregnant wife, played by Reese Witherspoon, and a son living in Chicago. However, he is an Egyptian native, which sends up a blaring red flag to the United States CIA.

When a bomb explodes in a North African city, El-Ibrahimi is connected to the explosion by a determined CIS higher up, played by Meyrl Streep. BULA is kidnapped in an American airport, and then flown to Africa with many of his rights violated along the way. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Douglas Freeman in the film, a new CIA agent, who is promoted to overseeing “forceful interrogations.”

Gyllenhaal does a fine job and is convincing as a rookie torn between ethical judgment and the demands of his superior. Streep performs her role well, as the audience is quick to despise her character. Though Witherspoon’s acting was reasonable in her few scenes, something was left to be desired in her character.

While the overall film was done well, certain key questions are left unanswered. It is unclear why the suspected terrorist, El-Ibrahimi, is a main aspect of the plot. The actors and director either chose to ignore this, or just forget to include an explanation.

But the plot of the movie is something that does not just live in Hollywood. I found the message of the movie to be incredibly important, as well as relevant. Things have changed since the 9/11 attacks only six years ago. Our government has gone to drastic measures to perform acts we thought of as inhumane less than a decade ago.

As they say on Law and Order, it was “ripper from the headlines.” The film may be ranked alongside Hotel Rwanda and The Pianist. Though both of those films were noticed in part because of the impressive lead actor, the truth behind the stories was something that reached audiences, and it is that, I believe, which will capture them again with Rendition.

It is common knowledge that more Americans go to the movies than watch the news, or read the newspaper. Perhaps watching something on a giant screen with pretty actors and an exciting twist is the only way to get a majority of Americans to learn about what is going on in this country. Perhaps not, but maybe it will at least clarify some of the things that have been rumored to be going on in the agencies fundamental to our nation, with a bit of Hollywood drama thrown in of course.

Rendition is a movie that offers audiences real issues with dramatic twists, combined for an enjoyable film. It may not end up at the top of your year’s best, but it is a good one that might open a blind eye.