Director: Gavin Hood.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Douglas Freeman), Reese Witherspoon (Isabella Fields El-Ibrahimi), Meryl Streep (Corrine Whitman), Alan Arkin (Senator Hawkins), Peter Sarsgaard (Alan Smith), Omar Metwally (Anwar El-Ibrahimi), Igal Naor (Abasi Fawal), Hadar Ratzon Rotem (Safiya), J.K. Simmons (Lee Mayer), Simon Abkarian (Said Abdel Aziz), Moa Khouas (Khalid El-Emin), Zineb Oukach (Fatima Fawal), Aramis Knight (Jeremy El-Ibrahimi), Rosie Malek-Yonan (Nuru El-Ibrahimi), Laila Mrabti (Lina Fawal).
Bush and Cheney regularly used torture in the war on terror. Then they lied about it claiming with straight faces that the United States does not torture. Many innocent people were tortured. To help fool the USA public (many of whom condone torture and make apologies for it) they would send those to be tortured to other nations known for being skilled at torture. This is a story of one of the many torture incidents.
USA sends an innocent man accused of terrorism to be tortured at the hands of Egypt's secret police.
Spoiler Warning: below is a brief summary of the entire movie. And some curse words.
Rendition is a "surrender" or "handing over" of persons or property, such as extradition of criminal suspects.
A terrorist bombing kills an American envoy in Egypt.
An Egyptian named Anwar El-Ibrahimi who has lived in the United States for 20+ years, has graduated from NYU and who is married to an American gets off an 18 hour flight from South Africa. He is apprehended at the airport when he arrives in the USA.
The U.S. sends Anwar to Egypt to be interrogated knowing that they regularly use torture.
An American CIA operative named Douglas Freeman observes the interrogations and is shocked by their brutality. He believes that the man being tortured is probably innocent, but he doesn't want to lose his job, so he remains quiet. But it tears him up inside. He calls CIA officer Corrine Whitman to speak to her about Anwar El-Ibrahimi. She basically tells him to buzz off. She only wants to know if the torturer wants to stop. No. So the torture will continue.
The torturer is also a rather nasty father. His daughter wants to marry her boy friend, but he wants to arrange a marriage for her. Later she runs away from home.
Meanwhile, Anwar's wife Isabella tries to find out what happened to her husband, but gets nowhere. All the authorities are mum on the point. The very pregnant Isabella seeks the help of an old school mate named Alan Smith. He works for Senator Hawkins. He tries to help Isabella but he becomes just as stymied as Isabella. All he really knows is that her husband was accused of terrorism. He tries to get information from Corrine Whitman. Although she knows the story about Anwar, she lies and says she does not know the man. She herself believes strongly in the use of torture saying that it saves many lives. (That is as long as none of her family or friends are tortured, of course.) Smith pushes Whitman on the matter and gets scolded by his boss after Whitman complains.
Freeman asks his Egyptian friend the Minister of the Interior to sign a release form for Anwar. He tells the friend that since America sent the prisoner to Egypt, the man is his responsibility. The friend worries about what will happen to his reputation.
Isabella confronts Whitman but she refuses to tell her anything. She screams at her but is forced to retreat by two large security guards.
Freeman gets the release form. He goes to the prison to take Anwar out of there.
The daughter of the torturer sees pictures of some of her father's handiwork and is very upset. And there is even a picture of him in the booklet of torture. She drops the album and runs out of the room. Her father arrives to grab her, but she gets away from him. Her father sits down at a restaurant on the patio. She sees her boyfriend strapped with explosives and runs to him to stop him. He seems as though he is in a trance. He stops for her. She begs Khalid not to do it. It is her father. He cries. Seeing his long delay, his henchmen shoot and kill Khalid. When Khalid dies, his hand comes off the detonator and it ignites. Freeman gets his shirt very bloody. The torturer loses his daughter.
Freeman calls the Washington Post and asks to be connected to editorial. The torturer goes home. His wife beats his chest as she knows her daughter is dead. Freeman and Anwar go down to the Mediterranean Sea. Freeman gives the ex-prisoner a passport. Thereby begins Anwar's long journey back to the USA.
The US fellow who arranged the rendition of Anwar calls up Freeman and asks: "What the fuck are you doing? Do you have him?" No, says Freeman. He hangs up on the bastard.
Whitman gets calls on the story about the rendition of Anwar. Anwar arrives home in a taxi. His son plays with a soccer ball on the lawn. He greets his father with a hug. His wife comes outside with her new baby. Husband and wife hug.
The Bush-Cheney team has blackened the reputation by their immoral actions. I know there are many Red Necks who excuse torture as long as it's not practices on Americans by other nations and make excuses for it. But they are as corrupt and immoral as Bush and Cheney. The torture is very brutal, but it may show some naive people how terrible it is to send men and women to be tortured. If you would oppose your own relatives or you yourself being tortured , you ought to be against all torture. There were lots of Hollywood stars. I am sure they wanted to aid in a harsh condemnation of the US policy of torturing people.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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