5.6/10
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12 user 8 critic

Extraordinary Rendition (2007)

A man is abducted from the streets of London and transported via secret flights to an unknown country. Held in solitary confinement and cut off from the outside world, he is plunged into a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Zaafir
...
Maro, Interrogator
...
Ewa
Jimmy Yuill ...
University Dean
...
Solicitor
...
Hassan (as Naoufal Ousellam)
Valeria Sachi ...
Valeria
Ham Zanoun ...
Zaafir's Father
Zamira Wicking ...
Zaafir's Mother
Roddy McDevitt ...
Dan
Laurence Possa ...
Octavian (as Laurentiu Possa)
...
Radovan
...
Sergei Ilic (as Nick Barlett)
Aleksandar Mikic ...
Ante (as Aleks Mikic)
Munir Khairdin ...
Munir, Interrogator's Colleague
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Storyline

A man is abducted from the streets of London and transported via secret flights to an unknown country. Held in solitary confinement and cut off from the outside world, he is plunged into a lawless nightmare of detention without trial, interrogation and torture. Returned without explanation to the UK many months later, he is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life in a world he no longer recognises. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Thriller

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August 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Különleges kiadatás  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition are terms used to describe the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one state to another. "Torture by proxy" is used by some critics to describe situations in which the United States, the UK and others, has transferred suspected terrorists to countries known to practice torture. See more »

Goofs

Zafir historical dates recollection includes 'fall of Constantinople 1441 a. d'. Actual date is 1453 a.d. See more »

Connections

References Nine Hours to Rama (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

The Clock
by Thom Yorke (Radiohead)
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User Reviews

 
The road to Hell...
23 June 2008 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Opening with a richly ironic quote from Dick Cheney that men without conscience are capable of any degradation the human mind can imagine, Extraordinary Rendition clearly wants to be a throwback to the political cinema of the 60s, when films by directors like Costa-Gavras could deal with recent events and have a real impact, but while it has the urgency and the passion it lacks the ability to do its subject justice. It's a classic case of a new director trying to make a mark with an important subject they don't yet have the skills to pull off. You can't fault the motives or the desire to bring to attention Britain's scandalous policy of colluding in the abduction of its own citizens and sending them to states where torture is practised for interrogation, and it's hard not to agree with the film's position that such practices often only act to radicalise minorities and increase potential threats. It's the execution that is the problem.

The story is simple enough – a Muslim teacher (Omar Berdouni, one of the terrorists in United 93) is abducted, drugged and shipped to an Arab country where he's interrogated and tortured to confess to crimes he's never informed of – but the film often tries to overcomplicate it in the editing suite. The fractured narrative and timeline, mixing before and after the abduction with the interrogations, doesn't work at all, robbing the film of any immediacy and constantly taking us away from the central drama. Because we know he survives, there's no tension, and since the film goes out of its way not to shock its potential audience away, there's little of the relentless horror and uncertainty that a film about human rights violations should convey. Indeed, it's that polite sensibility that really dooms the film; a polite treatment of an ugly subject isn't really appropriate. While it's admirable that it avoids torture porn, there's little to make you feel uncomfortable until the last 15 minutes or so when the film finally starts to build up some power.

While there's a lot to be said for focussing on one person's experience, by doing so it misses out on the wider political issues – such as the question of Britain willingly giving up its sovereignty along with its citizens in the interests of a foreign power that won't reciprocate – while failing to create an involving human drama to compensate. You simply don't care much for any of the thinly sketched characters. While it doesn't trivialize the issue, it doesn't humanise it either. There's little in the domestic scenes to convince that these are people rather than actors, let alone characters you can really feel and empathise with. At times it feels more like a TV crime reconstruction, with all the attendant weaknesses.

Technically, the low budget often makes itself felt. Director Jim Threapleton has some interesting visual ideas, but parts of it feel photocopied from other films. The quality of the hand-held 2.35:1 widescreen video photography changes from frame to frame in the early scenes and the sporadic moments of shakeycam or MTV cutting feel a bit laboured, giving it the sense of nice, middle-class boys trying to keep it street to keep the kids watching. The plot mechanics are a bit ropey too, with that clumsy first-or-second-take feel to some scenes and performances. On the plus side, it does a good job of showing how the hero relies more on what is hinted as a more fundamentalist form of Islam during his captivity, while Andy Serkis is superb as the interrogator ("I just have a job to do"), and it's in his scenes that the film really finds its feet. It's just a shame the film doesn't trust their quiet power and constantly cuts away from them. B+ for intentions but a C- for achievement.


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