Brian De Palma’s Redacted…another Fahrenheit 9/11
by Robert Amoroso
November 20, 2007
A few years ago in LA, I had an opportunity to take in and review Michael Moore’s controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11. Being a New Yorker and witnessing the carnage that took place on that September morning, I felt compelled to view this film first hand. Fast forward to Brian De Palma’s current film Redacted and I find myself once again “compelled”.
Perhaps I need to be personally involved before I can comment on what seems to be another attempt at denigrating both those innocent lives lost on September 11th and our brave serviceman and woman who fight and die to protect our way of life.
Both of these films are designed with a preconceived agenda to either gloss over a catastrophic event, as was the case with Fahrenheit 9/11, or to show (graphically) our serviceman and woman as barbarians, as depicted in Redacted.
Michael Moore treats the events of 9/11 as a footnote a sidebar if you will. As if the 3,000 plus innocent lives that were brutally murdered, did not warrant our attention or our focus. He does this by masterfully discussing the event, and going “black” on the screen, not one visual of the actual attack, but rather a voice over on a blackened screen. Within moments however, he graphically shows the aftermath of American bombs hitting villages, and the carnage that follows, he gets extremely graphic in depicting those events. He chooses carefully what his audience should or should not view, mindful of what emotion he wants from them.
Brian De Palma on the other hand takes an isolated incident, of an actual event, the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year old civilian girl by American troops and creates a storyline around it. Suggesting that committing atrocities is part of the United States military code. He depicts our troops as brutal drunken and depraved, void of principles; he blurs the lines between good and evil, and perhaps that’s where my dilemma lies.
In truth, De Palma is still waist deep in the rice paddies of South East Asia, in a conflict that has long ago amended its purpose. Sadly, it seems this brilliant filmmaker cannot distinguish between his riveting 1989 Casualties of War and what is currently taking place in the Middle East. He chooses what “truths” he deems necessary, to portray further his own skewed agenda, and his “one size fits all” view of global conflict seems to be systemic of the Hollywood left.
What troubles me most about this film aren’t the obvious gritty visuals of the heinous crime, but rather the underlined and continued distain that De Palma shows for our men and woman in uniform, so much so that he makes no effort at distinctions. In one scene a soldier declares “Welcome to the goddamn Army”, while in another he speaks of the Corps. Of course, the dialog throughout the film is painstakingly slanted with no attempt at balance.
Obviously, De Palma and Moore have every right to depict whatever they want, and I begrudgingly accept that. However both Moore and in particular De Palma have an obligation to accept responsibility for whatever propaganda these films may provide to our enemies, during a time of war.
It seems ironic that in a country that was brutally attacked without provocation, that the likes of De Palma and Moore choose to ignore the obvious…that we still debate openly what methods of integration we should use against our enemies, while our enemies simply go about blowing up and beheading innocent civilians.
While I strongly disagree with De Palma’s view of the world, Redacted is a film that should be viewed, if only in an attempt to understand De Palma’s rational. Redacted is a raw and disturbing film, and while the subject matter is indeed important, De Palma’s overt biases of our military overshadows the message and he (like Moore), inadvertently becomes the story.
More articles by this author:
» Reflections, of “A Bronx Tale”
» A look back at New York’s changing nightlife
» New York State, is once again under attack
» A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
published in BrooWaha New York
Copyright © 2007 Robert Amoroso