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TRAITOR, 2008
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TRAITOR
Movie Review
Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce
Review by Eli Manning




SYNOPSIS:

When straight arrow FBI agent Roy Clayton (Pearce) heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn (Cheadle).

REVIEW:

Traitor is an interesting movie. It's essentially a tale of two ends of extremists trying to do what they think is right in the world. And it centers on a man Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) who's caught smack dab right in the middle of the madness.

Don Cheadle jumps as an artist in this film as he plays a man you like at times and dislike at times. This is the type of human being that is usually the hero in real life but never in the movies. Cheadle's career so far has had him playing guys who are overly nice OR guys who are overly mean and nasty. But in Traitor he plays a man who is just trying to survive in life while using his religion as its moral compass.

There's a lot happening in this 110-minute Thriller. Writer/Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, manages an impressive feat of the post-9/11 fears and anxieties from both sides of the fence. An easy choice could of been made in this film where it could of given us the terrorists are all around us/the government is not doing enough to catch them angle. But Traitor attempts to show us the other side that we North Americans tend to not want to take a look at. Why?, because it's easy not to.

In the interesting story we have Fareed (Aly Khan), a murderous and mercenary master terrorist whose jihadist cant is indistinguishable from hypocrisy. Samir is one of Fareed's lieutenants, who is a man we can't help but like despite of what

he appears to be doing. Their friendship is the most interesting part of this film. There is love between these two, but we know that they are essentially mass-murderers who are misguided. When watching their relationship grow you can't help but wonder what if?

In the other story we have two F.B.I. agents, Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Archer (Neal McDonough). Clayton, the leader of the troop is also from an religious extreme group. He's a minister's son from the South who's also a realist. While Archer is the bad cop/tough cop of the pair, Clayton understands the big picture and knows this saga won't be over in his lifetime. He's also a lieutenant/middle manager who just wants to do the best job he can do inside of the madness.

Traitor is a good film, but not an exceptional film. What the story is really about is Samir's conflicted inner conscious. A plot twist in the middle mark gives us a whole new look into his psychology, but it's too late and not enough. These types of people are our heroes of our time because they are doing so many hard things without any fame, glory or money. They are caught in their own head trying to do what's right. And what's right is usually the hardest thing to do.

What the problem is with Traitor is that the subject is too big for its medium. If they just focused more on Samir's story arc and forgot about the others, then the film works on many more levels. This is a film that's trying to tell the complete story of a war that can't be told right now. Like a WWII or Vietnam War film, you can't tell the whole grand story in two hours, but you can tell a tale of one man's story.

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Traitor seems rushed. We move from Yemen to Canada to Mexico to the U.S. and we meet many minor characters. If only they just stuck with Samir the entire time. It would of been a cheaper movie to make and a much better one too.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting film to see. It explores themes that are inside of many of our hearts and souls. And the last thing we can do is try to run away from them.

3 stars out of 4!

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