Monday, August 25, 2008

Cheadle's Performance Saves This Traitor

The next movie I will review is "Traitor" Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), a devout American Muslim, and a former U.S. Army Special Forces expert in explosives, has been mysteriously showing up on the FBI's radar for being in the area of terrorist bombings. FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) heads up a task force investigation to link Horn to these bombings. Clayton is able to question Horn after he was arrested in Yemen for attempting to sell explosives to an Islamic terrorist group. The terrorists break out of prison and take Horn with them. With the help of Max Archer (Neal McDonough), Clayton is able to link Horn to a bombing of an American Consulate in Nice, and a failed police raid to capture his top terrorist contact in London. Clayton has been pursuing Horn around the world and has tracked him to the United States. Clayton must capture Horn before he strikes his next target. Samir gets mixed up with the terrorists, becomes a murderer, becomes mixed up with the American government, and eventually has to decide if he wants to continue to destroy innocent lives in order to save many more lives. There is some US bashing on the part of the terrorists but it doesn't crowd out or ruin the larger story. There are good guys & bad guys, with shades of gray in between. Yet the story is a compelling one and Don Cheadle gives an Oscar worthy performance in the lead role as a terrorist/traitor. He has a strong supporting cast, including Guy Peirce, as the lead FBI agent tracking him down, Neal McDonough (from HBO's Band of Brothers") assisting Peirce, Jeff Daniels as an intelligence contractor with a shady persona, and many others, all excellent. The plot is complicated and I won't spend a lot of time re-hashing the movie. The movie begins in the 1970's with the Don Cheadle character as a young boy in Sudan, fast forwards to present day Yemen, with Cheadle grown up and making a weapons sale to Al Qaeda (or a terrorist group, the film never explicitly mentions Al Qaeda), and the location switches between Yemen, London, Paris, and Chicago. The main terrorist plot involves mass bombings in the US, I won't say what the targets are, or how many are targeted. The bombs are all to be detonated at the same time, for maximum impact. The plot is clear at some points and at others you really can't say whats about to happen, I will say that when you find out that Samir will make the bombs, and the detonation switches, your mind will come up with several outcomes. Mine were all wrong. This is a pure message film and makes you think about the world. It's a well acted film, it's very well made, I give traitor a 4 and on my avoidance scale a HUGE 0. This is definitely worth seeing. It's a good action thriller that also provides some realistic international perspective sorely lacking in most of today's spy movies.

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