“Brian de Palma’s Redacted (2007) explores the ‘truth not truth’ of video and cinematic images. The film’s long opening scene is paradigmatic: the classic cinematic move of a smooth ‘coming down’ from the sky is overlapped by the classic handycam image of the date of the shooting. Following this is a title in a semi-professional graphic, while the colloquial voice-over of a soldier (who is also the film’s protagonist) states that he is the author of the recording itself; after which a highly amateurish tracking shot ends with the protagonists looking collectively into the camera, and finally with a freeze-frame. As a whole, De Palma’s film feels like a mix of reality and fiction: Hollywood DV footage, YouTube clips, wannabe documentaries and parodies of independent cinema. Here, the director of Scarface has captured a phenomenon that has radically changed the aesthetic perception of the cinema viewer, alternating and superimposing classic cinema aesthetics with the booming DIY digital aesthetic. In addition, the film’s subject is the war in Iraq, and this aesthetic seems equal to a situation in which ‘embedded’ journalists give the public the ‘truth’ in ostensibly unofficial shots attained by ‘brave’ reporters risking their lives. Low-resolution images of the Iraq war are usually considered true, especially those taken by mobile phone cameras or otherwise tiny hidden cameras.”
Web Aesthetics, p. 162-163.