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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.
Rating: M Violence & Offensive Language
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]
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Village Voice [USA]