Movie #16: Traitor

Maybe it’s too much 24 (and other movies and shows like it), but I was very tired of watching stories about Muslim terrorists by the time I came to watch Traitor. Actually, I had no idea that in this movie, Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn, an American Muslim born in Sudan, whose faith and discontent leads him to become a terrorist and bomb-supplier to militant Muslim groups. After he’s arrested during a raid in Yemen, he becomes acquainted with Omar (played by Lost’s Saïd Taghmaoui) who helps him move up in the ranks of his cell. Meanwhile, the FBI (in particular Special Agent Roy Clayton, played by Guy Pearce) is tracking/hunting Samir for his past and future crimes. While dealing with some of the same types of characters and conflicts, this movie has a slightly more raw, realistic feel than 24 with its penchant for action and adrenaline-pumping suspense. However, gradually we learn that things are not always how they appear and a number of unforeseen or misfired situations lead both sides to converge when the terrorist organization plans a major strike on US soil. I have to say that I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I expected. There are some twists, which I like, but nothing was done just for the sake of surprise. It was more like an acknowledgment of how things in real life don’t always go as planned. Cheadle and Pearce could have a competition for subtle expressiveness (Whoever can delivery their dialogue with less lip movement wins the prize!). Also in the cast are Neal McDonough, Jeff Daniels, and one of my recent faves, Archie Panjabi. What makes this movie different from your average action-thriller is that it gives up some of the flash-bang for more of the soulful depth. It felt much more satisfying that way. (4 out of 5)

16 down, 34 to go!

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