Rendition

Despite the best intentions, this is a simplistic, skin-deep attempt by director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) to rage against the U.S. policy of torturing suspected terrorists in foreign prisons. The film is crawling with Oscar winners: Reese Witherspoon as the pregnant Chicago woman whose Egyptian-born husband (Omar Metwally) is put on the rack for a bombing in Africa; Meryl Streep as the CIA operative who orders the rendition; Alan Arkin as the senator who goes deaf on pleas to interfere from his assistant (Peter Sarsgaard) and a callow CIA newbie (Jake Gyllenhaal). What a cast, indeed. And what a bust as persuasive drama.

From The Archives Issue 286: March 8, 1979