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MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for strong disturbing violent content including a rape, pervasive language and some sexual references/images

Reviewed by: Christopher Walker

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War, Drama
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 16, 2007 (limited), DVD release: February 19, 2008
Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures Copyright, Magnolia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Magnolia Pictures


What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer

What part should morality play in politics? Answer

Does character matter in political leaders? Answer

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn't this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Featuring: Sahar Alloul, Eric Anderson, Lara Atalla, Karima Attayeh, Francois Caillaud, Patrick Carroll, Andrew Cullen, Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz, Mike Figueroa, Qazi Freihat, Shatha Haddad, Paul Hijazin, Suhail Abdel Hussein, Ty Jones, Dhiaa Kahlil, Hiyam Abdel Karim, Yanal Kassay, Ohad Knoller, Shukraya Maran, Sabrine Munther, Paul O'Brien, Adel Odai, Kel O'Neill, Hameed Sahi, Abigail Savage, Nick Seeley, Issam Shamary, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Julie Thiery, Helen Zamel, Jafar Zoubi, Mazen Zoubi, Zahra Zubaidi
Director: Brian De Palma
Producer: Laird Adamson, Mark Cuban, Jason Kliot, Christopher Matson, Gretchen McGowan, Eric Schwab, Stephen Traynor, Simone Urdl, Joana Vicente, Todd Wagner, Jennifer Weiss
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

“Truth is the first casualty of war.”

Copyrighted, Magnolia Pictures

The tagline for the movie reads “Truth is the first casualty of war”. That statement rings true. Television and the media have covered the already five-year war so much, that the lines are blurred between real or fiction. “Redacted” is a movie that poses this question in a fictional content of a real-life incident and ultimately let’s the viewer decide.

This movie has been the subject of controversy before, during, and long after it’s theatrical release. It stems from a real-life incident, although Brian De Palma was told to change the names and events for dramatic purpose. De Palma gets his point across anyway, as he intercuts the film from the soldier’s points of view with that of an Iraqi news broadcast, which makes this all the more effective, and a camera from the outer barracks as three marines are talking and laying out their ultimate one-night act of revenge. It’s not revolutionary in the world of cinema, but some films are better said using the simplistic of materials before them. We experience all this through the eyes of Alpha Company soldier Angel Salazar (Izzy Diaz), who is documenting his time in the service on a hand-held camcorder in hopes of getting in to film school. The events that follow are so mind-numbing and shockingly brutal that there’s no way around it.

I kind of see this as a quasi-sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s anti-Vietnam war film “Full Metal Jacket,” in which the audience is shown the regression of soldiers from humans to killers without a conscience. This movie shows this type of mentality, but replace Vietnam with the modern-day Iraq scenario. Same thing. A lot of people have attacked this film for portraying our soldiers as villains and monsters. Bill O’Reilly has stated that, so have other people in their attacks on this film including Michael Medved. The statements made about the soldiers’ portrayals basically untrue as Salazar and another soldier, Lawyer McCoy (Rob Devaney), are the only two marine protagonists who plan to expose the truth, but they both take different means of actions to try and achieve their goals. The movie does contain many uses of the f-word, the Lord’s name is taken in vain several times, and the violence is at an all-time high (everything from exploding body parts to the brutal rape and murder of an Iraqi teenage girl and her family, and the murder is described in graphic detail).

There was a film in which Brian De Palma made in the 1980s called “Casualties to War,” which is similar in a way to the plot of this movie. It happened then, and it certainly happens now in this unwinnable war. This can also be seen as revenge porn, as soldiers have justified that the events that happened on 9/11 was indeed not the work of Al-Queda or the Taliban, but against an entire group of people that supposedly wants to see the United States destroyed. This movie allows for people to judge for themselves the facts. On a personal note: I just want to say that I’m all for the soldiers and support them in any way possible, but I am against putting our troops in harm’s way. Sorry for putting this in my review, but it’s something that needed to be said in my writing. I believe that “Redacted” is a film that shows the real monstrosity of war: the dehumanization of our troops into killing machines, and the consequences of our actions that causes a chain of awful events more horrific and sickening than the previous one. This is one truth we can’t ignore, nor will we ever forget many years from now.

Grade: B+ (*** out of ****)

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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