SAYS "BRIAN DE PALMA HATES THE AMERICAN MILITARY"
Exactly nine years ago today, Brian De Palma's Mission To Mars was released in theaters. It was the second time De Palma worked with actor Gary Sinise, who had appeared in De Palma's Snake Eyes just two years earlier. It doesn't look like the pair will be making any films together anytime soon.
Sinise, who has been performing with his band, the Lt. Dan Band, for troops in Iraq through USO tours since 2003, is executive producer of a new documentary about the current Iraq conflict, Brothers At War. The film is directed by Jake Rademacher, who took his camera to Iraq to follow around his two younger brothers, who are U.S. soldiers. Sinise is interviewed about the film in today's Chicago Tribune by Robert K. Elder, who mentions that Sinise has also made a documentary covering his own time in Iraq for Fox News. Sinise, who told Elder that he has "a profound respect for people who serve," also said that Brothers At War "is not going to be your typical blood-and-guts, negative, depressing thing about Iraq. What's great about this film is there's a personal investment, because the filmmaker is making it about his family."
However, Sinise was fuming to Elder about De Palma, saying that with Redacted (which, shades of Fox News, Sinise has not even seen!) the director "was out to get the troops, to depict them as child rapists. That's the truth he wanted to tell. That's one particular, horrible episode that happened by, clearly, some criminals who happen to be in the American military." Sinise continued..."There are 150,000 people serving honorably, but Brian De Palma didn't care to show those stories," Sinise says.
His venom catches me off guard, not only because De Palma directed Sinise in both Mission to Mars and Snake Eyes, but also because Sinise says he never saw Redacted.
"I wouldn't see that film. I knew he had a very political agenda with making that film to make the American military look really, really horrible," he says.
"Brian De Palma hates the American military."
[De Palma a la Mod editor's note: Sinise may or may not be drawing some insight here from working on De Palma's Snake Eyes, in which Sinise's Navy Commander character is in charge of a conspiracy to assassinate the Secretary of Defense over the impending cancellation of a missile project that Sinise's character is deeply in favor of, as he feels the project is important to the protection of his fellow soldiers.]
Elder's article continues...
A call to the office of De Palma's agent for a response elicits this: "Mr. De Palma has no comment. Thanks."
Sinise says he has never discussed Redacted with the filmmaker, but it doesn't appear the two will be working together any time soon.
Sinise's criticism didn't stop there. Brothers at War, he says, is "not a journalist going out there looking for the story he's trying to tell. There are many, many points of view and many sides. Unfortunately, you have to dig deep to find a balanced perspective."
I suggest that the military may have credibility problems, especially after it twisted the otherwise heroic stories of former prisoner of war Pvt. Jessica Lynch and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was shot and killed by fellow soldiers. The military lied to the country and their families for public-relations purposes. "I don't think the truth wins out in either case," I say.
After a pause, Sinise says, "You're right," then counters: "And for every one of those, you have 50 other [positive] stories. Unfortunately, bad news sells. If two houses are standing there, and one of them is on fire, the reporter is going to write about the one that's on fire—not the peaceful house that's nicely painted."
"Because that's not news," I offer. The news, in part, provides cautionary tales, such as how to keep your house from burning.
But we're in a war where people are serving honorably, Sinise says. "Those stories need to be told."
In the article, Elder describes Redacted as "an award-winning but divisive drama about soldiers who raped a young Iraqi girl." Of course, the idea that De Palma was "out to get the troops" is utter nonsense. In Redacted, De Palma makes no bones about the idea that the soldiers who performed these criminal acts had no business being in the military in the first place. He places an individual soldier of integrity at the heart of the movie who attempts to stop the crimes from being committed, and is wracked with guilt over the incident, which comes to represent for him the senselessness of the killing all over Iraq. De Palma's stated purpose with the film was to end the war, plain and simple. While I respect Sinise and what he does for the troops, his criticism of this film he refuses to see is blind and hollow.