Director Brian DePalma, who made his name making violent horror movies portraying the killing of women (“Dressed to Kill” and “Body Double”), has always been a gadfly on the left wing of the political spectrum. This can be seen in early movies like “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!” to the more recent movie “Casualties of War” about American soldiers in Vietnam.
With “Redacted,” DePalma returns to his roots with a controversial left-wing movie about two despicable American soldiers in Iraq leading a raid to rape and murder a teenage Iraqi girl and her family. A third soldier wants to make his name in movies by video taping the act, which makes him morally culpable for it. A fourth soldier is bullied and intimated to do nothing to prevent the two soldiers from accomplishing their evil mission. Along the way, DePalma also shows one of the two soldiers at a checkpoint killing a pregnant woman and her baby being rushed to the hospital, the platoon’s sergeant getting blown up by a bomb, and one of the soldiers getting decapitated in an act of revenge for the murders by an Iraqi shouting, “Allah is great!” At the end of the movie, DePalma shows real photos of dead Iraqi civilians under the cynical, ironic title “Collateral Damage,” thus blaming America for all such deaths in Iraq.
“Redacted” is a series of videotapes and faked news reports about these soldiers and the Iraq war. Included are some shots of two American soldiers being killed on a terrorist website, as well as an anti-American diatribe from some young woman. This kind of unconventional filmmaking may be good for making controversial political points, but it does little to tell a coherent story, portray character depth or reveal actual truth.
Of course, the real message here is that America and America’s soldiers are either evil, weak or incompetent, not to mention racist. The movie cites no real sources to support its claims. Though apparently based on a true story, the movie neglects to mention that, according to sources like the Iraqi government, insurgents, foreign terrorists, al-Qaida members and Islamic sectarian partisans have (conservatively speaking) killed at least 35,000 Iraqi civilians, including non-military police, during the American occupation of Iraq. In fact, some civilians captured before their deaths have been brutally tortured (and we’re talking physical mutilation here, not just the use of waterboarding).
Instead of making a movie about one or two incidents by American soldiers, who have already been sentenced for their crimes, DePalma should be making a movie about American soldiers and their leaders trying their best to stop this brutality by Islamo-fascist, anti-American Arab fanatics. Of course, that would not serve DePalma’s left-wing agenda to attack the Bush administration and the United States military.
By the way, in his official statement about this movie, DePalma mentions his anti-Vietnam War movie “Casualties of War.” In his statement, he calls the Vietnam War “a senseless war.” DePalma should tell that to the 2 million Vietnamese and Cambodians who were imprisoned and slaughtered by the Communist thugs in Southeast Asia and their Communist supporters in China and the Soviet Union after the Americans left. Talk about redacting, or editing out, important images and information.