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December 10, 2008
Rendition Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
14/2/20084/12/2008Village RoadshowGavin Hood
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1MA15+Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal as the American agent in Rendition.

A decade ago everyone was living in relative happiness. Since September 11 the world has changed. People get "interrogated" at airports for joking comments, security at major events is more intense then ever, and no one boards a plane without at least thinking of the consequences. America are at the forefront on the war on terror but some of their practices are questionable at best. That's probably why movies like Rendition struggle so much to get an audience - American's don't want to know what their government is up to. They don't want to know that they are violating international laws. This movie explores those violations.

What if someone you love...just disappeared? When an Egyptian terrorism suspect "disappears" on a flight from Africa to Washington DC, his American wife and a CIA analyst find themselves caught up in a struggle to secure his release from a secret detention facility somewhere outside the US.

No doubt about it, this isn't a 'popcorn' flick as the film follows several separate, but interwoven storylines. Rendition is a movie which will have you questioning your beliefs. In particular your beliefs that Americans are on the side of 'good' in this War on Terror. No, I'm not saying that September 11 is justified, it was a hideous crime against humanity and the perpetrators must be punished. This movie questions America's actions since that time. Detaining people without charges, torturing for information, and going to all lengths to 'protect' their laws of not torturing anyone on American soil.

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Omar Metwally is superb as Anwar El-Ibrahimi.
Captured perfectly is the aspect of life in the Middle East and while we are never given an exact country where the events of the movie take place (the filmmakers don't want to pinpoint and upset people obviously) we can certainly pick a couple of likely options. Much of the movie uses Arabic dialogue with subtitles, and this only manages to heighten the films realism.

While top billing is given to Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep - and each puts in a wonderful performance we must add - kudos must go to Omar Metwally as American/Egyptian inmate Anwar El-Ibrahimi. He plays the role absolutely perfectly as a man who doesn't understand what is happening, finds himself in another country being tortured for information he doesn't have and just trying to survive. One can only hope that he finds more roles in future movies.

All-in-all Rendition is a wonderful movie with a brilliant script, great acting and great directing by Gavin Hood. Most importantly it covers both sides of the world we live in today, but really makes you question who really is on the side of good or evil. Would you torture a man, potentially innocent, in order to stop a terrorist act?

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Being transported to another country.

Rendition is presented on Blu-Ray in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 at 1080p using the VC-1 codec. Be it the bright exterior scenes or the darkly lit indoor ones this movie looks quite impressive on Blu-Ray with accurate colours and a sharp image. Indeed there are many moments of quite brilliant colour including a wonderful brilliant orange as a plane comes in to land between 29:17 and 40:01. Overall the movie has a bit of a gritty look, but that goes with the nature of the picture giving it a bit more of a documentary feel as well rather then (what would be) an inappropriate 'Hollywood' gloss.

Village Roadshow have again knocked a Blu-Ray disc out of the park when it comes to audio. This disc contains a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which offers a crystal clear audio experience with clear dialogue, great effects, and solid use of surround sound channels and sub-woofer. The movie is very much dialogue driven but it is still a wonderful example of just how wonderful the format sounds at its best.

There are no other audio options on this disc, and the only subtitle option (besides the subtitles for the non-English sections) is one for English SDH which appears accurate to dialogue on screen.

Despite being released on a single disc Rendition comes to Blu-Ray with some fairly decent extras which includes some impressive detail on the subject matter.

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Reese Witherspoon puts in a solid performance.
Commentary with Director Gavin Hood: Quite an interesting commentary which details much of the filming process and storyline. Worth a listen if you have some time to spare.

Outlawed (27:41: This really is a brilliant documentary which looks at one real life case of Extraordinary Rendition - someone who is taken away and not seen or heard from while being interrogated. Really worth a look the only disappointment is that it is only presented in Standard Definition.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (18:11/HD): Five scenes are presented here including an alternate ending. I can't really say that any of these would have added too much to the movie, but the optional directors commentary details why they were cut.

Intersections: The Making of Rendition (30:07/HD): While a little short there is still plenty to enjoy in this featurette which looks at the making of this movie. Plenty of on-set footage and some interesting perspectives are provided.

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Meryl Streep as Corrine Whitman in Rendition.
Theatrical Trailer (2:27/HD): The theatrical trailer for Rendition is presented in HD and actually sells the movie pretty well.

I walked into this movie without an iota of what to expect, but it turned out to be a tense, well directed and well acted drama which certainly makes you think about the world today. Throw in a solid transfer to Blu-Ray and some decent extras and this becomes a disc well worth checking out if not as a purchase, then at least as a rental.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.