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Running Time:
1 hour, 30 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for strong disturbing violent content including a rape, pervasive language and some sexual references/images.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Despite having honorable intentions, the experimental nature of the film is structurally messy, stereotypical, and ultimately disappointing.

Additional Info:
DVD Features:
Closed Caption; Higher definition: Redacted episode; Behind the scenes; Refugee interviews; Photo gallery

Brian De Palma ("The Untouchables") has made an intensely political picture with the most honorable intentions. It gets its title from a word meaning “edited,” in the sense that much of the truth about America’s war in Iraq has been edited for the American public. While the movie is fiction, it is based on an actual event that occurred in 2006 when a few American soldiers stationed in a village south of Baghdad raped a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, then murdered her and her family and set the building on fire.

Using a variety of cinematic techniques Brian De Palma has given the film the appearance of a docudrama, including showing pages of printed material with any controversial words blacked out, or censored. The film opens on a sympathetic soldier, Angel Salazar (Izzy Diaz) who uses his video camera to record events inside the American compound hoping to use his pictures to get him into film school in the states. He films a variety of soldiers, most of whom reveal that they have no wish to become career army men. They include compulsive reader Gabe Blix (Kel O’Neill), jokingly introduced as Mr. “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Next we meet McCoy (Rob Devaney), a lawyer who probably does more thinking about the morality of the law than his army buddies, B.B. Rush (Daniel Stewart Sherman) and Reno Flake (Patrick Carroll), who are from obviously lower socio-economic backgrounds, and frequently call the Arabs “towel-heads,” “hajis,” and “midget Ali-Babas.”

As Angel is filming, a car carrying a pregnant woman speeds on its way to a hospital and refuses to stop at the checkpoint. The soldiers fire on the car, killing the woman and her unborn baby. A French journalist conducts interviews with witnesses while the angry soldiers chase and rape a nearby helpless 15-year-old Iraqi girl and then murder her and most of her family. McCoy is an unwanted bystander at the crime scene, and grapples with exposing the actions of his buddies Flake and Rush at the risk of being viewed as a traitor, while Salazar continues to record their unraveling lives on tape.

The U.S. officials, meanwhile, want nothing more than to sweep the incident under the rug and pretend no wrongdoings have been committed. When McCoy returns to his wife and friends back home, he is a destroyed man unable to come to grips with the unspeakable death and destruction he has witnessed.

This is a brave and daring attempt to tell a story that has been avoided for too long, but despite its honorable intentions, it is a structurally messy film, quite stereotypical and it loses its way in heavy-handed pretentiousness.

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