Who's in It:
Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep
The Basics: The U.S. government has taken Witherspoon's husband of Middle-Eastern descent to a secret location for some waterboarding. This gives her multiple opportunities to be frowny. And not much else. Tracy Flick and/or June Carter Cash wouldn't stand around pouting, I know that.
What's the Deal? Exhibit No. 3127 that there is absolutely no serious real-life issue (in this particular entertainment, it's the moving of terrorism suspects outside of U.S. borders for interrogation and torture) that Hollywood can't gut, simplify so a third grader can get it, strip of all meaning and turn into a showcase for attractive actors to compete for big awards. I suppose a case could be made for easing the public into hard ideas about what its government is doing to people, including its own citizens, but you get harder-hitting truths from The Daily Show than this movie. A complete waste of subject matter and a near complete waste of a cool cast.
What's Especially Ridiculous: I demand better from Streep than the taking of the easy road. Here, she's portraying a hard-line CIA official whose main evil characteristic is her Southern accent. Because that's fresh. It's like she's Darth Vader by way of Ann Richards.
One Good Scene: Peter Sarsgaard plays an ex-lover of Witherspoon's who comes in to help. He has a good, low-key banter moment with Streep where everything they're really saying is between the lines. For a second, it's like the movie might take off and really deliver something smart. And then it's over as soon as it began.
Best Unintentionally Funny Bit: When Witherspoon screams, "YOU HAVE MY HUSBAND!" I don't know why I like this so much, but I do. It deserves to be a ring tone.