Why are all the Iraq movies really movies about making movies?


The bloodiest consequences of the Iraq war are easier to find on the Internet than on broadcast television, and if you're a newshound who's also a digital native, the distinction is probably meaningless. But it sets off alarm bells for 67-year-old filmmaker Brian De Palma, who recalls that televised images of the American war in Vietnam sent him into the streets in protest. "I keep on saying all the time, 'Where are the pictures, where are the pictures?' " De Palma explained at last month's New York Film Festival press conference for Redacted, his grisly rant against American military involvement in Iraq. "We basically just want to sort of end this war, you know, by trying to show the reality of what this war is," he continued.

A fictionalized account of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family by U.S. troops in March 2006, Redacted (in limited release today) is a patchwork of mostly invented reportage: It incorporates a faux French documentary, Internet sites, online video messaging, and a mujahideen assassination video, but its main thread is a video "war diary" by an American soldier and would-be film student, Angel (Izzy Diaz). "This camera, it never lies," Angel says, and Redacted is equally righteous. It's also crude and flat-footed, dominated by Angel's footage of his cartoonishly boorish colleagues. (The soldiers' dialogue and personality dynamics strongly echo another De Palma film, the Vietnam-set Casualties of War, which also examined the rape and murder of a civilian girl by American soldiers.) At times, the movie looks and sounds like something a group of anti-war teenage boys might put together, and perhaps this raw, homemade quality is intentional on De Palma's part—an embrace of the ruling YouTube aesthetic.

(Source: Slate)

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