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Tal sees De Palma's REDACTED in Vancouver and says, "Watch this f#%@ing movie!"

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here... I want to see this movie now now now! I want to see a Brian De Palma movie I can love unconditionally again. I really do. And it sounds like this might be the one.

Went to the Vancouver Film Festival, saw Redacted. It has to be one of best war movies I've ever seen. They're nothing alike, but if I had to choose, I'd put it ahead of Thin Red Line. Watch this fucking movie. Redacted De Palma De Palma De Palma. I'm going to be honest and say I haven't seen many of Brian De Palma's films. Everyone has seen Scarface. Mission Impossible doesn't count. But I finally saw his infamous rock movie-musical, Phantom of the Paradise, a couple of months ago. I sat through that whole movie grinning ear to ear. I don't know if I even liked it. But there's something truly extraordinary about its strangeness. There's an audition scene featuring the graceless Jessica Harper chicken-waltzing aimlessly across a stage. Surely De Palma realized how shitty her dancing was. But that's what makes it work. It's so unapologetically bizarre. "What? Phoenix dances any way she wants. She's a star. Fuck it." Cut to the diminutive Paul Williams lustfully pursing his tiny little lips and you have a cult film for the ages. It takes gigantic, talented balls to make creative decisions like those. They hook you in. You have no idea what's going to appear on-screen next. -- God, De Palma De Palma De Palma. How do I review your new movie without overselling it? How do I talk about it without hyping it up and ruining it for all the unfortunate bastards that haven't seen it? Redacted is inspired by the actual murder and rape of a 14 year old Iraqi girl, and the slaughtering of her family, by four US infantry men in 2006. The movie imagines the events before and after this incident, and is told entirely through "found" footage: reenactments of footage either censored or leaked through the internet, and "collaged" together to form one, coherent narrative. The footage is displayed in a variety of formats and contexts: a French documentary, Iraqi news broadcasts, a streaming video on a Terrorist website, home video etc. You can't exactly describe it as a mockumentary (as we currently understand it) because some of the scenes are meant to be an accurate, albeit re-contextualized, depictions of actual, documented events. And it's obvious that the film is very methodical, well-rehearsed and scripted. Unfortunately the only other films I can think of that do anything remotely similar are the Blair Witch Project or Gang Tapes, and this movie is so much more sophisticated than either of those films. A montage at the end of the film not only reinforces the horrors of the Iraq war, but the film maker's painstaking efforts to be honest in their depiction. Redacted marries theme, narrative and style so perfectly that they enrich each other. What I found most compelling is the film's depiction of new media, and how it's pervasiveness affects the way we experience the war here at home, and the experiences of the soldiers and Iraqis that are immersed in it. War is no longer fought on the ground. It's fought through bad press and leaked video and an insurgent execution on Youtube. Three quarters into a movie, an crazed teenager gives a seething anti-American rant on her website. And it's not the rant itself that is significant, but the horror of the events that precede it, and the catharsis of broadcasting it. When the US military and government mechanically downplays the gravity a heinous crime, it shouldn't be surprising when the public's response is filled with hate and vitriol. A great deal of the film is told through the digital video camera of one the main characters, Salazar, and you get the sense his mere presence escalates the tension and conflict between characters. There are moments where the actors performances seems melodramatic ... but somehow, like Phantom of the Paradise, it just WORKS. The CHARACTERS are melodramatic. They're being recorded. They're emotional and impulsive; they posture and grandstand. In a way, the characters are more believable when they ham it up for the camera. Brian De Palma does not pull any punches. He is very deliberate in the violence he depicts, and the violence he does show is cruel, brutal and necessary. I'd be surprised if the film gets released in the US in the form I saw it. In a way, the whole cinematic experience reminds me of Requiem for a Dream. The film's style heightens and reinforces the drama on-screen, as the characters push themselves closer and closer towards their tragic, inescapable, and revelatory conclusion. People have been ripping De Palma off for ages, and with Redacted, the real De Palma just owns them all. He out-De-Palma's HIMSELF. He does things stylistically that I don't think anyone has done, including himself, and it WORKS. He has essentially re-invented the war movie for the 21 Century, and I urge anyone that appreciates great film to see it. -- Reviewed by Tal

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