Traitor (2008)

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From the writer of The Day After Tomorrow comes this conspiracy 'cat and mouse' spy thriller. When FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce, a.k.a. the cat) heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle, a.k.a. the mouse).

Horn is a mysterious figure with a funny name and a web of connections to terrorist organizations. The FBI links Horn to a prison break in Yemen, a bombing in Nice and a raid in London, but a tangle of contradictory evidence emerges and Clayton thoroughly perplexes himself as he attempts to track Horn across the globe. Jeff Daniels stars as a mysterious (a key word in this movie) CIA agent.

Trailers

Drama, Thriller

114mins

Rating: M Violence & Offensive Language

USA

Official Site

flicks

Those post 9/11 thrillers just keep on coming. Hot on the heels of Body Of Lies, Vantage Point, Rendition, The Kingdom and the rest is this one, with Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Oceans 11) playing a Sudan-born American Muslim, who may or may not be a dangerous Jihadist bent on blowing up the Western world (it won't take a supergenius to suss things out long before the 'bombshell' moment).

Writer/director Jeffrey Nachmanoff riffs heavily but still fairly superficially on the complexities of Islam, coaxing a committed, well-controlled performance from Cheadle in the process. Guy Pearce looks less comfortable, spouting a number of fromage-laden 'here's what the screenwriter is trying to say' soundbites ("Religions have many faces...") as he doggedly tracks his prey from Yemen, across Europe and on to the US.

Despite its predictability and sometimes clunky dialogue, Traitor proves to be a tense, engrossing ride - you'll know roughly how it will end, but you'll still want to see exactly how it plays out and who's left standing. While many of these kinds of films focus squarely on those attempting to thwart terror cells from the outside, this one intriguingly puts its emphasis on the politics and relationships within them and that's what just about elevates it out of the mire.

Still, there's a lingering feeling that unless someone has something new to say, it's high time Hollywood gave the earnest-but-unspectacular terror dramas a rest.

Chicago Sun-Times [Roger Ebert]

press

The movie proceeds quickly, seems to know its subject matter, is fascinating in its portrait of the inner politics and structure of the terrorist group, and comes uncomfortably close to reality. But what holds it together is the Cheadle character.

Hollywood Reporter

press

The film is a genuinely gripping tale about international terrorism that hopscotches across three continents.

New York Times

press

A somber, absorbing and only moderately preposterous new thriller.

San Francisco Chronicle

press

The film is stylishly shot, although the current action-movie look might be dated in a few years.

Variety [USA]

press

Brandishes physical verisimilitude and intelligent seriousness but proves unable to really get inside its chameleon-like central character.

Village Voice [USA]

press

The movie's first hour is well-done, but realism and insight go out the window as soon as Samir crosses the U.S. border.
Mark

Mark

user


Review

Agree with flicks but gave it more for Hollywood providing a more sympathetic though, I think, a very calculating view of an islamic believer.

Could have been so much better if it wasn't so run of the mill in other ways.