The new film from South African Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi’) premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on 7 September. “Rendition’ is a political drama about the assault on civil liberties in the aftermath of 9/11 and stars Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line’), Meryl Streep (“Sophie’s Choice’), Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine’) and Oscar-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain’).
The term “rendition’ refers to the CIA practice of removing suspected terrorists from the US to other countries for interrogation.
A Reuters report in The Washington Post stated that “Rendition’ had brought “a dose of torture and political timeliness’ to Toronto. Witherspoon plays the pregnant wife of an Egyptian-born man who disappears during a trip abroad because of a suspicious call to his cell phone by a known terrorist. Streep is the CIA official who orders a rendition on the basis it could help save thousands of lives, with Gyllenhaal as her inexperienced subordinate assigned to his “first torture’. Playing the US senator’s aide trying to help Witherspoon locate her husband is Peter Sarsgaard.
Meanwhile, Toronto has seen a spate of war-themed films including Nick Broomfield’s docudrama “The Battle for Haditha’, Paul Haggis’ “In the Valley of Elah’, “Body of War’ (talk show host Phil Donahue’s directorial debut) and Brian de Palma’s “Redacted’, which won the Silver Lion at the recent Venice Film Festival.