Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm just 1 in 3,000

Maybe not something to be proud of, but I am one of the 3,000 people in the US that Brian DePalma's misguided new film Redacted over it's opening weekend. To be fair, the film opened on a mere 15 screens, and attending the film went against all common sense given the subject matter and the scathing reviews. (Hmm. It's a holiday weekend. Should I go see Beowolf or Redacted? Bill O'Reilly said I shouldn't go to that Redacted movie...) Needless to say, it was an empty theater that I arrived to on a Saturday afternoon in Edina. I was feeling pretty self conscious about the fact that I was going to be alone watching a movie about soldiers raping a young girl when someone else finally came in and sat down during the previews.

As much as I would like to champion that the film was undeservedly panned and, as a result, under-attended, I simply can't do it. Redacted is an ill-conceived film that I can only assume DePalma made because he couldn't help himself. And while I can't defend the film on that basis alone, I can certainly sympathize with his intentions. Who hasn't had that moment of disbelief or anger when reading the paper or listening to the news that people aren't more upset about what is going on. DePalma has probably had many of those moments and this film was what he decided to do about it. Late in Redacted there is a dramatized video blogger venting her rage about the individuals characterized in the film, about the war in Iraq, and about the general complacency in the US regarding the war. This is the scene where DePalma's voice comes through loud and clear.

When the film was over, my fellow theater mate and I struck up a conversation. There is no enjoying a film like this, and we both agreed upon that. Much like me, he felt compelled to see the film simply because everyone was telling him not to. He was dumbfounded that this film was panned and Enchanted was given high ratings. No doubt. To keep it in perspective, as flawed as Redacted is, I found it a much less painful experience than this year's mega-hit Transformers.

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