Spectrum Culture closes out its De Palma retrospective with my piece on Redacted, a film I continue to find fascinating in theory but sloppy and self-aggrandizing in practice. Even so, seeing this in the wake of Zero Dark Thirty has reminded me of ways De Palma beat Bigelow to the punch, both in a climactic sequence shot through night vision lenses and an ending of an ostensibly good person's emotional breakdown. In communicating anti-war sentiments, De Palma's versions of these sequences top Bigelow's, willing to indict those on the ground where Bigelow and Boal demur in favor of a broader, more ambiguous critique. Elsewhere, though, this is half-baked agitprop that fails to capitalize on the freeform approach to digital that De Palma takes, and it results in one of the director's worst films.
My full piece is up over at Spectrum Culture.