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What if someone you love...just disappeared? 

Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Rendition

Director: Gavin Hood

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anwar El-Ibrahimi, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep

Jake Gyllenhaal certainly is on top form these days. The young actor seems to hold Hollywood in the palm of his hand and Rendition is another step in his career. The film is based on a policy currently in use by the USA where suspected terrorists are taken off American soil to a remote location in another country. The government agents sent with the prisoner are then free to oversee, or indeed take part in, what is essentially torture. A dangerous topic to deal with.

The story follows a man of Egyptian heritage being abducted and taken away to a secret facility where he is told he has been arrested for communication with a known terrorist. There on the story splits into three narratives, culminating in an absurdly well crafted ending. The majority of the film is spent in the hot climate where the torture is taking place, but Reese Witherspoon’s character delivers a welcome shift in setting with the part she plays in attempting to free her husband. In this role she is buffeted through the uncaring American bureaucracy that is apparently unaware of her husband at all, or the policy of extreme rendition.

Performances are good all round. Meryl Streep (playing the part of a US official directing this rendition) achieves the cool, strictness her character demands, while Gyllenhaal himself perfectly moulds the inner distress and moral uproar into his role. Omar Metwally also deserves celebration as perhaps the star of the film, being the centre of the plot, as well as having the courage to perform some of the more unpleasant torture scenes.

Overall, this is certainly an eye opening and engaging film. Hard-hitting and ceaselessly intelligent, there are only a few minor flaws, but as it stands it’s an enjoyable and intellectual piece, albeit with perhaps too great an ambition. However, Rendition is still a must-see for anyone who wants some depth in their cinema.

Alex Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)