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Extraordinary Rendition - drama DVD / suspense DVD review
EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Omar Berdouni, Andy Serkis, Ania Sowinski, Jimmy Yuill, Hugh Ross, Naoufal Ousellam
Director: Jim Threapleton   Studio: BFS Entertainment
DVD release: 25 March 2008   Runtime: 77 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English), The Making of Extraordinary Rendition, Edinburgh International Film Festival Interview With Jim Threapleton & Omar Berdouni, Trailer, Selected Filmographies (Andy Serkis, Jim Threapleton, Omar Berdouni)

Omar Berdouni plays Zaafir in director Jim Threapleton's thought-provoking Extraordinary Rendition, the story of a Muslim man who is taken off the streets of London and to another country. Married to the non-Muslim Ewa (Ania Sowinski), he is a university professor who teaches in somewhat controversial ways. Zaafir is a giving man, close to his family, helping his brother to afford a trip to study abroad.

His charitable nature helps to get him caught. While out for a jog one day, he is asked for directions and abruptly stuffed into a van. He is chained and locked in a shipping container for who knows how long. We lose track of time, as does Zaafir. Eventually, he is stripped, extensively photographed, sprinkled with powder, and moved to a more conventional cell with stone walls and a metal door. Here he is deprived of sleep by a bright light that turns on and off and his jailer banging on his door to rouse him as he drifts off. He doesn't know what he is incarcerated for all this time, until he begins to meet with The Interrogator (Andy Serkis). He is accused of helping to finance terrorism and being a terrorist himself. He is beaten, worn down, punched, waterboarded, cut, pistol-whipped and humiliated.

Eventually he is released, but his torture continues, as does his family's. He can't communicate what has happened to him to his wife, to bureaucrats, to anyone. He can't sleep, and his waking hours are plagued by visions of his tormentors.

What happens to Zaafir shouldn't happen to anyone, not even actual terrorists. In a civilized country, even criminals should be treated like humans. Habeas Corpus, a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention, should be granted, yet since September 11, 2001, habeas has been denied many. The accused have been taken to foreign lands where the Geneva Convention is not observed, and hideous interrogation methods have been employed.

Extraordinary Rendition tells a fictional story that parallels the story of hundreds if not thousands of people who are being detained indefinitely without being charged. This shouldn't happen in a civilized world. It promotes terrorism as surely as it intends to thwart it.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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