IT'S hard for Hollywood pacifists like Brian De Palma to capture the hearts and minds of America if Americans won't see their movies. While the public is staying away in droves from “Rendition," “Lions for Lambs" and “In the Valley of Elah," audiences are really avoiding “Redacted," De Palma's picture about US soldiers who rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, then kill her and her family. The message movie was produced by NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who insisted on deleting grisly images of Iraqi war casualties from the montage at the film's end. Cuban offered to sell the film back to De Palma at cost, but the director was too smart to go for that deal. “Redacted" - which “could be the worst movie I've ever seen," said critic Michael Medved -took in just $25,628 in its opening weekend in 15 theaters, which means roughly 3,000 people saw it in the entire country. “This, despite an A-list director, a huge wave of publicity, high praise in the Times, The New Yorker, left-leaning sites like Salon, etc. A Joe Strummer documentary [of punk-rock band The Clash] playing in fewer theaters made more in its third week," e-mailed one cineaste.UPDATE: Instapundit links. Thanks! More also at Flopping Aces, Macsmind.
UPDATE II: Commenter Paul notes this review from Kurt Loder.
De Palma's use of an abominable crime as an emblem of U.S. conduct in Iraq is a gross insult to American soldiers who've never done such things — which is to say, the overwhelming majority of them. But the director thinks he's courageously lobbing a truth-grenade into the cultural conflict over the Iraq war, and no doubt he's hoping that any attendant controversy will help sell tickets. Recently, he's been trumpeting his own victimization by the great media-military war machine: Because the movie's distributor felt compelled to mask the faces in a collage of actual bloody bodies at the end of the film, De Palma claims that his own movie has been "redacted." It seems not to have occurred to him that the families of those dead people might resent his use of their identifiable corpses to score a facile political point.