Rendition Gavin Hood

Rendition Gavin Hood

In director Gavin Hood’s (Totsi) take on our post-9/11 times, the White House tortures innocent people and manages to get away with it. Our protagonist learns this the hard way. Anwar (Omar Metwally) is a Canadian scientist of Egyptian descent who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. After landing in NYC following a business trip abroad, Anwar is suddenly bound, hooded and taken away. In a few hours, he finds himself naked and alone in a barren cell in Cairo.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, a suicide bomb has just rocked the heavily populated Sadat Plaza of downtown Cairo. Out of the 36 dead, one is an American. Rashid Silime, a well-known terrorist and the head of the El-Hazim Brigage, a Hezbollah renegade group, has claimed responsibility. America wants restitution. Enter Anwar, who happens to be a biochemist with bomb-making experience and family ties to Egypt. Anwar’s wife (Reese Witherspoon) panics when she learns of her husband’s disappearance and seeks the help of old friend and Washington insider Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard). Together, they struggle to solve the mystery.

On the other side of the globe, there are people who know exactly what’s happening to Anwar. One of them is Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal at his best), a National Security Agent stationed in Cairo who has just been assigned to oversee Anwar’s case. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, however, Douglas isn’t convinced that the man had anything do with the horrific bombing, nor is he convinced Anwar will survive what is turning into a life or death situation.

Hood’s world is one obsessed with terrorism, much like ours. He takes the unorthodox route and makes America the bad guys. His film bravely walks the fine line between interrogation and torture, between preserving justice and violating the very rights that define it. By film’s end, you’re left wondering who the real terrorists are: Hezbollah, or the White House? (Alliance Atlantis)