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Extraordinary Rendition 2007
Description: A boy is abducted from the roads of London and transported via secret flights to an unknown country. Held in solitary confinement and slash off from the outside world, he is plunged into a lawless nightmare of detention without trial, interrogation and torture. Returned without explanation to the UK many months later, he is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life in a globe he no longer recognises.
Released: 01 Aug 2007 Director: Jim Threapleton Writers: Jim Threapleton Actors: Omar Berdouni, Andy Serkis, Ania Sowinski, Jimmy Yuill Genres: Drama, Thriller
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Extraordinary Rendition Reviews:

In the last several years, torture has become an indelible part of the movie industry. Exhibit A: Saw, Hostel or any season of 24 from Day 2 onwards. Exhibit B: real-life footage that ends up on the internet. After 9/11, such material, while still disturbing, is no longer a rarity, but almost a customary element to insert in category pictures (horror and thrillers, especially if political). As the recent addition to this trend, Extraordinary Rendition provides very tiny that hasn't already been told, its primary plotting and documentary-like execution making it come off as a terrible man's 24.Instead of examining the ways that are used to extract notification from well known terrorists, Jim Threapleton's detail focuses on the secret sections of governments all over the globe that abduct innocent folks and throw unfounded accusations at them. One such innocent person is Zaafir (Omar Berdouni), a London-based teacher who is found brutally beaten at Heathrow Airport in the movie's opening sequence. As he recovers and his girlfriend tries to receive him to say everyone what happened, those happenings unfold on the screen: we are shown the kidnapping, the container where he is held at first, the plane that takes him somewhere in the Middle East, the terrifying procedures that are used on him while a mysterious interrogator (Andy "Gollum" Serkis) continuously asks the same questions about some criminal Zaafir is supposed to know.The torture sequences are gruesome, and the added realism coming from the hand-held cameras and grainy cinematography ensure Threapleton manages to shock viewers with his argument: each day folks are randomly abducted and harmed in all possible methods simply because they come from certain territories or are associated with somebody who in return is associated with somebody else. This mission of view is reflected very well: the interrogator never supplies any current proof of the fact that Zaafir really knew the terrorist his organization is looking for, strengthening the theory that the terrible fella was taken just because he was an Arab. That it never is specified what government Serkis works for also contributes to conveying the concept of this type of thing being common everywhere.And yet... something is missing, and that's because the director gives too much attention to the wrong section of the film:like I told before, torture is not that difficult to see nowadays, meaning the biggest chunk of the film eventually becomes wearing. Too much time is wasted on the "during", while Threapleton could have cared more about constructing the "before" (providing a solid back-story that would have made the protagonist easier to empathize with) and, more crucially, the "after", analyzing the results of these illegal actions. Sadly, that is merely a footnote in the narrative, leaving audiences understandably unimpressed by a flick that has necessary things to tell but is unable to articulate them convincingly.


This is a very nice movie that deals with an extremely challenging trouble in a though provoking and humane way. This film from first time director Jim Threapleton (I knew I recognised the name, him being the ex partner of Kate Winslett) is not simple viewing as it is not meant to be. The movie is the storyline of Zaafir (an perfect Omar Berdouni) a university lecturer who deals with contentious problems such as democracy coming out of periods of violence and is also involved in programmes that promote learning in the Islamic world. Zaafir is suddenly taken of the roads by unnamed US and British agents and then transferred to an unnamed county to be questioned / tortured all in the name of justice. The torturer in chief is never called as they would not be but is played excellently by Andy Serkiss with the right amount of evil and malice mixed with the compassion he needs to draw information. The torture sequences are rightly difficult to watch and you start to see how confessions gained in such conditions truly are worthless. The movie is well directed and the editing serves the storyline well switching from before the kidnapping tgo after the kidnapping to present how the happenings not only affect Zaafir bit all those close to him especially his partner. Indeed some of the scenes between them the dialogue is intentionally very weak in the mix as the raw emotions of the torture enjoy out. Highly recommended.


Life in the post 9/11 globe is very complicated. During any time of war, the idea of mates and opponents is everytime at the forefront, and, although there may at times be some confusion over who fits where, for the most part in wartime mates and opponents are cute well defined. That simple assumption is thrown out the window by essentially two things - the "war on terrorism" in which the opponent can be defined only by their thoughts rather than by their citizenship and by the complicated demographic nature of the globe today where folks from all over the globe live together, work together and share citizenship with every other. The paranoia that easy grips a society after a horrendous attack - witness the incarceration of thousands of loyal Canadian and American citizens of Japanese descent after the attack on Pearl Harbour - can easy receive out of hand. I can remember sitting in a University history course in the mid 1980's when the topics of Japanese detention was being lectured about, and our Professor (a very well known and highly respected first-rate historian) told that we consider such a thing terrible, but that if any such thing occurred again we would instantly begin to identify who we thought the opponent was and deal with them - whether they really were the opponent or not. How prophetic.In "Extraordinary Rendition" Zaafir (Omar Berdouni) is a teacher at some lvl (university I would guess.) He upsets a couple of students by suggesting that there's not much difference between terrorists and freedom fighters, and that democracy is often born out of violence. Those are hardly radical concepts. I've heard it told many times that if the Americans had lost the Revolutionary War, George Washington would today be considered a terrorist. As it is, the United States regards him as a character because he led them in a violent struggle for independence. These students apparently report him; authorities investigate him and build a situation based largely on assumptions and hearsay without any solid evidence, and then package him off to some unnamed country where he can be tortured into a confession.Although this is a British film, any Canadian will recognize the storyline of Maher Arar. Arar was a Canadian citizen born in Syria who for some reason attracted the attention of Canadian and American safety officials. On a visit to the U.S. Arar was arrested, accused of being a terrorist and deported - not to Canada, where he was a citizen, but to Syria, where he was born. Why? Because in Syria he should be tortured and in Canada he couldn't be. That's extraordinary rendition.The primary storyline is chillingly said here, showing the happiness of Zaafir's life before all this happened, the horrendous experience he had in captivity and the devastating impact the experience had on him afterward. It's not a spy caper or a thriller. It's a very cold (in some ways) acc of what can - and does - happen in today's world. There's really no resolution to the storyline in the end. We don't know whether Zaafir ever managed to receive his life back together. I'm sure that was deliberate. The film is supposed to leave the viewer thinking and struggling with the problems involved. Benjamin Franklin told "they that can give up essential liberty to receive a tiny temporary security deserve neither liberty nor safety." And Edmund Burke told "the only thing important for the triumph of evil is for nice boys to do nothing." I think we need to relearn those lessons.The only thing hard about this film is that some of it is spoken in rather hushed tones that create some of the dialogue hard to follow, but the dialogue isn't really all that important to follow the story. The pictures tell it all. 9/10



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