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Brian De Palma’s REDACTED and the half-life of controversy

Brian De Palma's controversial new film REDACTED opens this Friday, January 4th, at the Alamo Ritz. The film is sure to spark at least a few flames, so before we start a fire, let's talk a little about controversy.

A dish often served up by the head-chef at a major (or at least savvy) PR firm, controversy is rarely ever born of genuine offense, but rather invented- like a microwave. However, in the case of REDACTED, producer Mark Cuban (yes, that Mark Cuban) didn't have to cause a stir about the film because he had the biggest swizzle-stick in the world do it for him...Fox-y moderator Bill O'Reilly.

This is because REDACTED is an anti-war film (specifically the war in Iraq), and war is quite literally a genuine offense. O'Reilly and his supporters argue that De Palma's realistic yet fictional depiction of factual US war crimes in Iraq will create the impetus for more violence toward our soldiers and our citizens. He has called Mark Cuban a traitor, and has implied he should be jailed and beaten. On the other hand, De Palma and supporters of the film believe the reality of war itself should not be veiled and that no film or work of art could ever cut deeper than the nightly news.



To put the controversy over REDACTED in perspective, check out boycottredacted.com. It will become bitterly, bitterly obvious that this situation is not necessarily a microwave, but a pressure cooker.

But I wonder...five years from now, will we look back at this film and remember any of this- the boycotts or the deep, fiery pink of Bill O'Reilly's face? Or will we remember this time, this war and a masterful film that laid our collective bad-hand out on the table for all the players to see?

I guess what I'm getting at is...controversy itself has no future, only a past. It is a dumb microwave that nukes up only what we put into it, and sometimes, if we're not careful, catches a twist-tie on fire.

Check out REDACTED only at the Alamo Ritz and decide for yourself. We tried asking Brian De Palma if he could undirect the film, but apparently that's not an option.


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