I observed my Jewish Christmas by watching Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” this evening. Was surprised to find it on-demand so soon. Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with George Packer:

De Palma has announced that his intention in making “Redacted” is to end the war. “The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people,” he said after a press screening in Venice. “The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to get their congressmen to vote against the war.” It seems unlikely to me that “Redacted” will have that effect, or even that De Palma is serious about wanting it to. The movie encourages you to abandon the very powers of analysis and discrimination that might lead you to write your congressman.
At the end of “Redacted,” as a kind of coda, there’s a montage of photographs of bloody and mangled bodies, many of them infants or small children. All the pictures are real, except the last, a faked image of a murdered rape victim—because, you know, what’s the difference? […] The title of the montage is “Collateral Damage,” suggesting that these are the victims of American firepower and indifference. But there’s no way of knowing how these Iraqis came to be killed, nor does De Palma care—their only role is to shock. The eyes of each corpse have been blacked out, for legal reasons. “I think that’s terrible because now we have not even given the dignity of faces to this suffering people,” De Palma said in Venice. “The great irony about ‘Redacted’ is that it was redacted.” There’s nothing ironic about it at all. “Redacted” had already taken away the corpses’ dignity; the blacked-out faces are of a piece with a movie that dehumanizes everything it shows.

“Redacted” is an act of voyeurism that becomes a part of the thing that it claims to denounce. If the pictures from Abu Ghraib and Zarqawi’s homemade videos are war porn, “Redacted” is film-theory porn—a stylized snuff film inside a meta-critique of the media. […]