I had thought the subject of torture would be a bit much on film but then I was reminded that people are inured to these things since they happen on television in "24." Thanks, Jack Bauer, for making it commonplace.
In any event, this movie was a look at how it might happen to one person -- but no less to the people on both sides of the torture -- the situation is looked at from many sides. You can't talk about this movie without mentioning the names of the actors -- all with stellar performances. Reese Witherspoon positively glows as the pregnant wife of the Egyptian man who suffer the "extraordinary rendition." Jake Gyllenhaal plays the Tale of Two Cities "'tis a far, far better thing I do" role to perfection. Meryl Streep is properly villainous as a government official who orders the torture. Peter Sarsgaard is senator Alan Arkin's aide who goes to bat for Reese.
The actors on the Arab side, though not well know, are just as competent. Several story strands are played out simultaneously. We see what is happening in many stories progressing to the inevitable conclusion with a surpising chronological twist.
Perhaps it will be educational; perhaps it will be just another "story." It's difficult to foretell how American audiences will react to this one. I'm curious to see how it plays out.
Director: Gavin Hood
Runtime: 120 minutes
Principal Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard, Omar Metwally, Igor Naor, and Meryl Streep