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De Palma's Worst Effort Ever (Amature Hour for De Palma)
It's hard to believe this is from the same person who directed "Scarface". This is "The Blair Witch Project" meets "Full Metal Jacket" meets "Loose Change". It really watches like some teenager decided to make a war movie after spending a weekend watching Vietnam flicks. Has De Palma ever met anyone in the military? Has he ever worked a set where there were ex-military advisers (like most military themed movies use)? The problems with this movie are five-fold. First, the storyline is somewhat cartoonish. Second, the characters are just copies of some of the worst war movie stereotypes. De Palma obviously based the "Rush" character on Leonard "Private Pyle" Lawrence in "Full Metal Jacket". Flake is a clone of PFC Louden Downey in "A Few Good Men", or perhaps Lennie Small from "Of Mice and Men". Third, some of the Internet scenes make me wonder if De Palma has ever been online or used a web browser. They are just odd. Four, the facility the Army members use as their bunk house has all kinds of industrial equipment, including a big, pale blue wall with gauges and levers like the engine room out of a 1950's sci-fi flying saucer. Fifth, and most importantly, the story is just bad, and really hard to believe. I don't mean the rape/murder, I mean everything else The "interrogation" scene of SPC McCoy makes no sense. First, in a legal investigation, why is an NCO interrogating someone? A JAG officer would be doing that, or in a non-legal investigation, an assigned officer would be doing it.
Literally every scene, with the exception of the very first scene, is like it was done by clueless teenagers and leaves any non-ignorant person saying to themselves "it would never happen that way". Down to the bizarre (and totally implausible) final scene, where McCoy breaks down but his buddy still demands a photo of him and his wife, and the totally weird applause for McCoy from the bar crowd.
This movie is best described as the "Plan 9 from Outer Space" of war movies. No, make that the "Showgirls" of war movies. That's a better comparison. What "Showgirls" is to "My Fair Lady", "Redacted" is to war movies.
But it is worse than that, and here is why.
Every character with any relation to the military, with the sole exception of SPC McCoy, is depicted as corrupt. Even McCoy's father does not support his son. We get the impression the senior McCoy was a career military man, either an officer or senior NCO, but he tries to get his son to not report what happened. That just does not seem believable. And he refers to what it would do to "The Corps". The Corps is the Marines, but the movie's characters were Army.
It is just so odd, I have to wonder if De Palma really wrote this film. He cannot do something that God-Awfully bad. I mean, it reminds me of a middle eastern soap opera you might see on Palestinian television, the caricatures are so, so bad. Filled with stereotypes, bad stories, and just oddness.
De Palma could have made a good movie, using the basic concepts of "Redacted", but he did not.