- 1 hr 30 min
Redacted is a war drama movie directed by Brian De Palma and inspired by true events. The film portrays the story of US soldiers embroiled in the Iraq War and the grim consequences of their actions. It uses multiple fictional formats such as video diaries, surveillance footage, and recreations of soldiers' interviews to tell its story. The movie centers around a group of American soldiers stationed in Samarra, Iraq, in 2006. The soldiers undertake a routine checkpoint duty to safeguard the car bombs entry to the city from Al-Qaeda militants. Angel Salazar, a soldier with a gift for filmmaking, records and shares their life with the other soldiers. A sudden encounter with a 15-year-old Iraqi girl named Farah (Yasmine Hanani) disrupts their routine. Her family gets gunned down in front of their eyes by the U.S. military convoy. The soldiers take the dead men for identification while leaving Farah behind. In no time, further investigation and interrogation reveal that the soldiers had actually raped Farah and committed several other brutal sexual atrocities against the Iraqi people. Redacted uses a fragmented narrative that jumps between different forms of storytelling to capture the horror of the events. The fictional formats of the movie are what make it a standout war drama, and the performances of the relatively unknown cast are outstanding. The movie creates an interesting perspective on the Iraq War, particularly on the US's accountability for undisclosed war crimes, censorship, and media coverage of wars. Certain parts of the movie have direct references to actual events, like the real-life massacre of 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family. De Palma employs a variety of techniques to drive the film, such as CCTV footage, YouTube-style video of the American soldiers, television newscasts, and scenes that Salazar shoots. These techniques ground the narrative both in the world of military protection, and toward the world of electronic reporting through which the facts become inevitably muddied. One of the most interesting things about the movie is its depiction of the military's culture, particularly the internal mechanisms that encourage a sense of impunity among soldiers. The film takes a hard look at the training of soldiers, especially with regards to their treatment of foreign nationals. It shows how the U.S military intentionally dehumanizes and stereotypes Iraqis into subhumans based on what is called "latent terrorist tendencies." The dehumanization ultimately leads to an environment where soldiers commit war crimes, believing they will never be caught, and that their actions are simply a part of war. Redacted shows how the U.S. military is capable of glossing over atrocities as long as they don't hurt its public image or political ties. Overall, Redacted is a masterpiece that shows the harsh realities of war that often go unreported or censored. The movie is not only a critique of the US military's presence in Iraq but also a reflection of the society that supports it. It compels the viewer to ponder the larger fabric of society and the responsibility of its citizens to act. Unmissable for war drama devotes and fans of visual storytelling.