Friday, January 2, 2009

Traitor - DVD Review

TRAITOR (**1/2) - Starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Said Taghmaoui, Jeff Daniels, Neal McDonough, Alvy Khan and Archie Panjabi.
Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

If you missed the first season of Showtime's Sleeper Cell, this is pretty much that show encapsulated into one movie, albeit with some casting upgrades. Don Cheadle is an ex-Special Forces guy named Samir, who is either deep, deep undercover, or now a traitor to the Unites States, and we're halfway through the movie before we find out the truth.

It is nice to see an action-oriented movie that isn't dead-set on lecturing its audience in its complicity in the War on Terror. It does point out how futile it can be when there are over a billion Muslims in the world, and only 20% of them are Arabs. How do you weed out the terrorist needles in such haystacks?

The movie came down to the end for me, and the ending cheats a bit. Cheats quite a bit actually. It felt like something 24 would do if the writers all ran out of ideas at the same at the end of Hour 21. "Oh crap, how were we going to get Jack out of this predicament again?"

Cheadle's his solid, reliable self, and Pearce does nice work as the guy on his trail. For post-9/11 movies I enjoyed it more than Rendition or some of these other lecture movies, but not as much as The Kingdom.

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