This well acted drama is a wakeup call to the horrors of the alleged practice of "extraordinary rendition", where persons suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are apprehended and sent to another country to be interrogated (translate: tortured)
Based upon one cell phone record and an Islamic name, chemical engineer Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally) is removed from a flight from South Africa to Washington D.C. and sent to an interrogation centre, where he is questioned, beaten and abused for proclaiming his innocence.
The movie uses flashbacks and lots of switching between characters to illustrate the chain reaction that results, and how it affects not only El-Ibrahimi, but also his wife (Reese Witherspoon), his family, an observing CIA analyst (Jake Gyllenhaal), and even his torturer, Abasi Fawal.
In a gripping sub-plot, Fawal's daughter secretly becomes romantically involved with a young man, not knowing that his brother had perished at the hands of her father.
Chilling at times, and maddening at others, especially when Meryl Streep's character gets involved, this movie is about the suffering of the innocent as a result of the sins of a minority. Food for thought, even though it may be a bit too bitter for some tastes.
Amanda Richards, March 5, 2008