A bold film, one I'm conflicted on but respect. The amateur style is warranted but not enough to rise it from its shortcomings, namely that it doesn't fulfill on its premise which seems to be that the proliferation of digital image will not bring us closer to transparency or elusive terms like 'justice'. At least that might be the point, I'm unsure. Bit on-the-nose but admirably perhaps the angriest Iraq war film.
If "Casualties of War" is one of the biggest fails in de Palma's career, "Redacted" it is his redemption.A different war, same problem (as matter of fact, two problems, the first one is how he shows the brutality of the army and the second one a girl violation and the army's resistance to that fact).You have another thing new in this film, the way he combines different types of images (thing that Romero will do too).
This is not a very good film although it's better than it's reputation. The idea of overlapping mockumentaries is a great one that I'm sure it will be used very well in the future, but here it really seems to do nothing accept suggest there are more than one perspective to a conflict. This film also exploits a real life mass murder as its centerpiece and it really does have enough insight on the war to justify it.
That churning in your stomach means you just finished the psuedo-documentary "Redacted". This disparagingly sloppy composition does little to exalt veracity or condemn atrocity because tacking photos as an epilogue only inflates a bloated agenda and escorts art into the camp of poorly acted propaganda. I suggest you watch a real film, an actual documentary, like Alex Gibney's "Taxi to the Dark Side".
Every character fell right in line with cliches and the acting was too hammy. The beginning gave a surprisingly human look at the soldiers in their bunks talking into the handycam, it's too bad the movie didn't use this to take a more nuanced approach instead of devolving into clearly defined "these are the good guys, root for them, these are the bad guys, hate them". A movie more concerned with agenda than story.
Generally, Brian De Palma doesn't give a fuck about verisimilitude: his images are consciously images, hence this mash-up of old war movie cliches and new digital media, with the realities of 21st century combat residing in there somewhere. It's a brilliant, provocative concept, and the execution can't keep up. But it deserves to be seen. None of the other Movie Brats were doing anything this ballsy circa 2007.
My first Brian de Palma. The least I can say is that I'm not disappointed! The fascinating theme of Iraq's war is explored through various lenses. Each media has its own set of technical, political and ethical rules. Pretty violent, the rough details of the war are offered by De Palma himself, closing the loop with his own lens. Astonishing, questioning and esthetic in a bothering way: that makes 5 stars for me
I cannot decide if this is an amateurish view of a serious subject or a serious investigation in an amateurish film. If you have any appreciation of camera placement and how narratives can be revealed from a lens, you probably will find this film boring. It could have provided a powerful dialogue about truth and perspective, but it ends up being an obvious parody of itself.