Not Redacted Enough

Brian DePalma and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, have made a deeply contemptible movie called Redacted. It has been playing at the Venice Film Festival; the Daily Telegraph describes the film here. Redacted tells the horrifying story of the worst crime committed by American soldiers in Iraq: the rape of a 15-year-old girl and the murder of the girl and her family, for which the perpetrators are now serving prison terms up to and exceeding 100 years. The movie is shot in a documentary style, but is fictionalized.
Why is Redacted contemptible if the story is true? Because it suggests that the crime is somehow typical of what American soldiers do in Iraq. Because it shows none of the heroism, or even normality, that generally characterize the troops’ efforts there. Because DePalma has admitted–bragged, actually–that his movie is a piece of propaganda intended to turn public opinion in the U.S. against the war. It is very much as though a director had made a movie about the Christian/Newsom case in such a way as to suggest that raping, tormenting and murdering white people is the characteristic activity of African-Americans, for the expressed purpose of inciting hatred against black people.
In this BBC interview, DePalma says he’s “done something that just can’t be done. You can’t ever say anything critical of the troops.” So DePalma is bracing for attacks from the “right wing.”

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Sure, Brian. You’re a regular profile in courage.
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