ReviewWriter: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The International", "The Kingdom", "Rendition"
It's seems terribly easy to make a terrorist movie like "Traitor" - decide on a script, round up the stars, go blow up a few buses and make sure it's sealed with an overt message that is both safe for White America and non-incendiary to Muslims. Write in an Allahu Akhbar or two and there you have it - a marketable Hollywood movie about terrorism.
While the political climate does allow for these sorts of films to attract wider interest and subsequent funding, the quality and depth of the pictures that are made turn suspect. Many areas are too touchy to thread and in the end, efforts like "Traitor" become no more than action movies with a political slant. That is precisely what this movie would be reduced to, if not for Don Cheadle and Samir Horn, the Arabic-speaking, Sudan-born American Muslim (quite a mouthful, isn't it?) whom he brilliantly plays.
Making up for the lack of bite in this movie are bombs and more bombs, interspersed with some urgent quiet drama from Cheadle and that sweaty frown of his we so loved in movies like "Hotel Rwanda" and "Crash". As Samir Horn, he is a devout Muslim who is gathering intelligence for the U.S. government by going undercover as an arms dealer who chances upon naive soldier Omar, played by a resplendent Saïd Taghmaoui ("La Haine", "The Kite Runner"). The boys get to travel a bit, as they plot a simultaneous 50-bus jihad do on Thanksgiving. Hot on their heels is a Fed (Guy Pearce) who doesn't know what Samir's really up to.
"Traitor" betrays it's classy setup with some soft storytelling and predictable solutions, not adding anything useful to the crop of terrorism-themed movies we've already watched. However, the performances from Cheadle, Pearce and Taghmaoui are particularly edgy, if not expected. For that, there is no shame in having paid money to watch "Traitor".Cinema Online, 14 May 2009