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Look out for more coverage of
Rendition in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Rendition

THE STARS:
Reese Witherspoon • Jake Gyllenhaal • Meryl Streep • Omar Metwally
DIRECTOR: Gavin Hood

Isabella Fields El-Ibrahim (Reese Witherspoon) tries to find some answers of her husbands disappearance THE CONCEPT:
CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Gyllenhaal) is forced to question his assignment after he witnesses the brutal interrogation of an Egyptian-American engineer, Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Metwally) by the North African police. And in Washington DC Anwar’s wife Isabella (Witherspoon) does everything in her power to find her missing husband.

U.S. RELEASE: October 19 2007, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

GAVIN HOOD:
Director Gavin Hood“We started in the States shooting Reese’s story and then went to Morocco and shot Jake and Omar. In a way it was like shooting different short films and weaving them together. I think it was a credit to the actors that they were absolutely immersed in their own stories, that some of them have said to me it was a shock to see all the stories come together.”

REESE WITHERSPOON:
“I think what really drew me to the part was being excited about imagining a life that is very much like my own, she’s a mother with two children. She’s fallen in love with a Muslim man and married him. She’s someone who has lived a life without having religious intolerance or racial profiling ever touch her world, and she’s suddenly experiencing an extreme of one of those circumstances.”

JAKE GYLLENHAAL on researching his role as a CIA agent:
“I didn’t meet with anyone in person. I spoke over the phone, but I only talked to CIA officers for fact checking. When you talk to someone who has a job like that it’s very technical, the questions you want as an actor are a little bit more emotional. So a lot of it was actually watching movies of people who played CIA agents and officers, like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Good Shepard.”

OMAR METWALLY on shooting the torture scenes:
“The first thing I have to say is that I was acting and I would never want to compare what I was doing to what that experience must be. I think there is no way of really knowing, so you do as much research and read and talk as much as you can. And then you just have to rely on your imagination and empathy and try to convey, if you can, just one small part of what that horror must be. And I was fortunate enough to have such great actors and a great director to work with. It was definitely a group effort.”

WITHERSPOON:
“I think it’s a film that has a lot of different, wonderful elements to it. There is definitely a romance to it, there are thriller aspects. It’s not just a film about a message, I think it’s a movie that asks a lot of questions and it really makes you think about a lot of the practices that are going on nowadays and whether or not they are legal or ethical or even constitutional.”

GYLLENHAAL on whether he thinks this is a hopeful movie:
“I think that hope is dangerous, because it takes you out of the present. I think this character makes a decision very much in the present moment. I think hope is the wrong message right now. I think working at it is the right message. I don’t know how successfully that was portrayed, that’s an audience’s decision to make.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Rendition site
Images above © New Line Cinema
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #689, November 2007 cover

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