De Palma's Film Ignites Praise, Comdemnation
Director Brian De Palma's latest film, based on the alleged rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager by U.S. troops and the slaughter of her family, has received widespread admiration from critics attending the Venice Film Festival. In Redacted, writes Ray Bennett in The Hollywood Reporter, "De Palma uses all his considerable talent to make clear what has happened to these men." (In the film De Palma imagines one of them captured by vicious jihadists who behead him on a video that is posted on the Internet.) David Gritten in the London Daily Telegraph comments: "The combination of De Palma's visceral style and the horrifying subject matter left me reeling." But Derek Elley in Daily Variety remarks that "the bullet veers far off the mark" in the film and that it "can't make up its mind about how to package its anger in an alternative cinematic form." In an interview with Time magazine, De Palma said that the word "redacted" refers to the military's term for censoring servicemen's letters and other comments on the war, and that his film is intended to present images of it that the public has never been permitted to see. "If we get these pictures and stories in front of a mass audience, maybe it will do something," he told the magazine. But Yael Lavie, a senior producer for Sky News, commented that the events on which the film was based represented "an isolated incident. Redacted will give the enemy another impression." And former Hollywood agent Pat Dollard, who made the patriotic documentary Young Americans about U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq, called the film part of "a campaign to smear U.S. troops in Iraq" and an effort to make "an anti-war propaganda movie fellow liberals will love all the way to Oscar."