A Balkan Muslim who killed two U.S. Air Force servicemen in March has told a German judge Wednesday that he was motivated after seeing the movie “Redacted,” which was made as a political statement in 2007 by Hollywood director Brian De Palma, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and several high-profile movie industry producers.
Arid Uka told the judge that that he murdered the two Americans in March after he watched the movie’s graphic depiction of U.S. soldiers raping a girl in Iraq, according to a BBC report. “I thought what I saw in that video, these people would do in Afghanistan,” he said, the BBC reports.
“What I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did,” Arid Uka told the court in Frankfurt.
The dead solders were Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, age 25, and Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback, age 21.
“I honestly had not heard about it,” said one “Redacted” producer, Jason Kliot. “I’m terribly sorry to hear that, but I don’t understand how my movie would impel anyone to commit murder,” he said.
“The real culprit here is the tragedy of war, it is not Brian De Palma’s brilliant film,” he said.
“I don’t see how people would be made to commit acts of violence [after watching “Redacted”], any more than they would for watching Fox News,” Kriot said.
The movie — which also depicted U.S. soldiers as racist murderers — was released as U.S. forced stepped up their successful offensive against Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Saddam Hussein supporters and Iran-sponsored Shia groups in 2006 and 2007.
The movie was widely praised in the movie industry and by left-of-center cultural groups. The movie and De Palma won awards at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, and it received a “Youth Jury Award” from the 2008 Amnesty International Film festival.
But the movie made little money when it was released in Spain and in fifteen U.S. theaters. (RELATED: Court case lifts lid on secret post-9/11 flights)
De Palma was the film’s director. Mark Cuban helped finance the movie. Producer credits went to Cuban and several of his colleagues, including Todd Wagner, Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente. Only Kliot responded to phone calls and emails from The Daily Caller.
The movie was very controversial when it was released.
Then-Rep. Duncan Hunter, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, complained about the movie to the Motion Picture Association of America. The movie “portrays American service personnel in Iraq as uncontrollable misfits and criminals … [and] ignores the many acts of heroism performed by our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors in Iraq.”
Public opinion was also mixed, with some critics calling the movie a “terrorist recruiting film.”
“Extra people are going to die because he’s making this movie … not many Americans will see it — but you can bet it’ll be playing on every station over there,” said a 2007 comment by “Witherwings” on the movie-tracking site Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie was praised by such outlets as Time magazine. “It’s an amazingly vigorous work for a filmmaker who turns 67 on Sept. 11, and his strongest cinematic and political statement at least since ‘Casualties of War,’ his Vietnam film of 1989. .. [it] is a cry of national shame; for De Palma, it’s a new badge of honor for a wily old vet,” according to Time.
The movie’s plot was drawn from a 2006 episode where five U.S. soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and three family members. All involved were jailed for sentences of up to 110 years.
“War movies… show the nature of war,” Kliot said. “There is nothing more incendiary about telling the truth of what is happening in war.”
“Do Americans kill people in wars? Yes … [but] this is pro-American film, this is a pro-troops film… [because it shows the consequences] when soldiers are put in an impossible position,” Kliot said. “Right-wing nut-jobs” criticized the movie even though they had not watched it, he said.
Kliot said his movies show many sides of warfare, and cited his 2005 movie, “The War Within,” which shows a Pakistani man preparing to murder Americans in New York’s Grand Central Station after he was radicalized by U.S. counter-terrorism policy. “’Redacted’ is about ending wars, not starting them,” he said.
In the months after the 9-11 attacks, White House officials complained they had received no support when they had asked Hollywood to produce movies supportive of the U.S. military and its operations.
Instead, Hollywood produced a series of movies critical of President George W. Bush, as well as the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
The movie made little money in the U.S. and European markets. According to IMDB.com, a website that tracks Hollywood movies and people, “Redacted” made $5 million. There is no data available on the number of pirated copies that have been sold.