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- If you are a Don Cheadle fan, go ahead and see it. Otherwise...
Don Cheadle is Samir Horn, a man who makes unlikely friends with a Middle-Eastern terrorist group. Does he support their holy mission, in furtherance of the God he shares with them? Or may he be the catalyst to bring this group down...from the inside?
You can no longer count the number of movies about the global threat of Middle Eastern terrorism on one hand. It is a topic that gets headlines around the world, and movie makers must salivate over the screenplays. I have admitted my bias, and maybe that is what made this movie mediocre for me. I thought the Americans were portrayed as ruthless, witless cowboys. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that viewpoint, but only that I grow tired of it.
Don Cheadle is my saving grace. He is one of the finest actors of this time. He has a seriousness about him that makes everything he says worth hearing. This movie followed him through some very difficult decisions and you feel torn in two directions almost more than he is. He is a talent worth keeping an eye on. He is also the only real highlight in this movie for me. The rest of the movie was just another take on these now-popular, religious Crusades. ...more info
- I didn't get it until I got it
Weird title for a review; well this is why. This was truly a mind boggler for me. Here is a guy that is working outside of the law and you aren't sure if he is really a good guy or a bad guy. Because this is a good mystery I won't give away the story. Just remember as you watch it what you see isn't always what is true. I bought it in BluRay because I got a deal on it through Amazon and I am glad I did. It is a pretty good movie that really makes you think about the mindset of the terrorist, their motivations and their blind obedience to an ideology. The movie is worth the price, even in BluRay. After all if I had seen it in the theater I would have paid more and I got to see it in my recliner....more info
- Starts Great...Ends with a Thud
Traitor, starring Don Cheadle is about an ex-Army Special Operations officer Samir Horn, who, after leaving the Army decides to fight on behalf of the Mujaheddin in Bosnia and Afghanistan. He is arrested in Yeman as a terrorist, but subsequently breaks out of jail with several other terrorists bent on wreaking havoc against the United States.
The most interesting part of the plot, however, is that Cheadle's character Horn, isn't a true terrorist. He's been planted there as an off the books operative of a U.S. government agency. Only one person knows of his whereabouts. Horn struggles with conducting terrorist operations which cause death and destruction even as he is helping the government.
Unfortunately, half of this plot is not fulfilled. The plot line of his involvement with the U.S. government is cut off halfway through the movie for no apparent reason. The entire story is simply left to die and never addressed or explained again. The result is a run of the mill movie that leaves the viewer wondering what caused the director to end the most interesting element of the plot. At the end of the movie I simply couldn't believe it was over. There was so much more that could have been done with this movie.
The only plus of this movie I can recommend is Cheadle's acting. He's definitely a serious actor and his acting skills are much more than the characters he's portrayed on Saturday Night Live. Overall though, this movie is a rental at best....more info
- Good Suspense
This movie was a good suspenseful film, but I didn't get the point. The chase, the suspense was built really well. But why? What was the director really trying to say? The message passed me by. Was this an inside view of terroism? A double agent? A man reacting to the horrible death of his father and a revenge movie? I just can't find the key, nothing I come up with makes sense, or fits all the pieces together.
This film had a ton of 24 feel to it. Don Cheadle is not Keifer Sutherland, but I had the same kind of feeling from this film as I do watching 24. The production values were very similar. Traitor and 24 have similar editing, and definately the same kind of camera work. This is not bad, just a feeling.
Don Cheadle is outstanding in this role. He is a truly amazing actor, with a huge range of skill.
The film opens in 1970 something where young Samir, (Don Cheadle) witnesses his father blown up in a car bomb. The film them cuts forward to present day and we follow Samir all over the world joining a terrorist group making bombs. The film uses the poor titling technique to tell the viewer where they are in the world. We are always shown some kind of stock view of the city and then cut to a Hollywood set that should look like that country. It's a poor technique that grows old as the film moves forward.
The story is exciting. The chase scenes, gamesmanship back and forth, and the double cross that is double crossed is all intriguing. The central question, who is Samir really aligned with, for which country is he a traitor? When the resolution actually happens, it was no surprise and was somewhat anti-climatic.
The problem with this film was more about, so what? I cared about Samir, would he make it through here, would he escape prison, would he be killed there, would the bomb accidently blow up, etc. But why was this film made? What did we really learn from this?
Rated PG-13, there is a lot of violence. Not much strong language. There is no nudity in this almost 2 hour film.
This isn't a bad film. It isn't great. I just didn't get it, why was it made? What was the point? When a film leaves me confused to that level, well I'm not a huge fan. ...more info
- Great Don Cheadle Film
I highly recommend this film. Because there was never a dull moment, it had me riveted to the couch. One advantage to watching a DVD is the ability to stop and start at will, but there isn't a good place to stop this film -- you just have to keep watching.
After Hotel Rwanda, I wanted Don Cheadle to be a good guy but, throughout the film, it was often hard to gauge. Thank goodness the camera was there so I could look into his eyes at just the right moment. The tiniest eye movements and pained expressions sustained the hope that he was a good guy. Cheadle's face can express more in a couple of seconds than many actors can in a monologue.
It seems that the title could have been less descriptive. I was dwelling on the "traitor" concept and on whose side he was, rather than watching the film and then realizing it was about a traitor. Again, I just didn't want Don Cheadle to let me down and go to the dark side.
Based on the limited knowledge I have of extremists, mostly gleaned from films, the supporting actors portrayed their roles to a tee. The FBI agents were as hard-nosed as any I've seen, and it's always nice to see Jeff Daniels in anything.
Steve Martin wrote the story - is there no end to this man's talent?
- Strong acting keeps this movie above average
Ably written and directed, this kind of movie could be terrible in lesser hands. But it's pretty darn good, in large part due to the very strong performance by Don Cheadle as a terrorist/double-agent, and also Said Taghmaoui as his fellow terrorist/friend. Shockingly, this was written by Steve Martin (yes, the comedian!)...more info
- Entertaining and provocative -- but perhaps a bit too heavyhanded with its message
I really wanted to love this film, and it started out strong. The cinematography is both gritty and gorgeous and true to the story: to begin with the sunlight is overpowering, the brights that flow through windows or doorways or from the sky are washed out, and the shadows and subtle variations of dark are clear and nuanced; towards the end the sun was less apparent, it always seemed overcast. This reflects the moral ambiguities that increasingly enter into the characters' visions: that overwhelm the clarity of faith, or of rightness and justice. The camera movements are both precise and volatile, conveying a sense of the urgency and uncertainty of the situations depicted. One could learn a lot from paying attention just to the visuals of this film. I noticed, in particular, that Don Cheadle was always lit in a way to highlight the range of tonalities in his face while allowing him to stand out against a relatively dark background - there is a big difference between the techniques of lighting for pale and dark skin and cinematographer J. Michael Muro deserves a lot of credit throughout for his exceptional work on this film. (He was also DP for Crash and The Last Mimzy, Flicka and Rush Hour 3 -- especially for the last three films I think that the cinematography was easily the best thing about them.) The acting (especially that of Don Cheadle as Samir) and the settings were also quite strong.
When it comes to story, things are a bit less subtle. I think of fiction film as involving four major components: (1) the cinematography (the filming); (2) the "mise-en-scene" (the filmed: including set, actors, props, etc.); (3) the story; (4) the theme. In the best films, all of these components are in the service of the story -- if the cinematography calls too much attention to itself, or if an actor's presence overwhelms the film, it doesn't quite work. Likewise, and I think this is the case with Traitor, a film can fail because the story is in the service of the theme. In the best films, the theme emerges along with the story, but it doesn't feel like the story is simply designed to convey a message: the story has a life of its own and because it feels true and alive it also allows us as viewers to see something about life and this insight is the theme.
Unfortunately, in this film, it feels as if the filmmakers designed the plot and the characters precisely in order to convey a message. Even more troubling is the fact that they appear to have unwittingly introduced a deeper and more problematic message by employing stereotypes that would give a shorthand way of conveying the primary message. That doesn't mean the story doesn't entertain and doesn't enlighten -- it does -- but I think the message could be more profound if they had been more focused on telling a story than on conveying a specific message.
Roughly, the explicit message of the film is that the war on terrorism is complicated, that Islam is complicated. While there are some who, in the name of Islam, would like to wage a violent war on Western democracy and the American style of capitalism that accompanies it, there are others who, in the name of the same faith, reject that violence and see Jihad as implying an internal struggle. Don Cheadle's character Samir is designed precisely to illustrate this tension: he is willing to accept violence as a means to fight against the usurpation of Islam by militant extremists, because he is ultimately a man of peace who aims to overcome his own anger. Although this character seems contrived by the writers precisely to illustrate something, Don Cheadle breathes life into him and he does appear to be real. What makes the message heavy handed is the way that characters are constantly stating to each other the allegedly profound insights we are supposed to be gleaning from the plot: Neal McDonough and Guy Pearce play FBI agents who express, respectively, the stereotypically patriotic American point of view and a more nuanced point of view that gradually comes to respect Samir for his faith (conveyed in a very heavy-handed way during an extremely improbable encounter between the agent and Samir in the final scene of the film).
But what undermines even this apparently nuanced message about Islam (that faith is not the enemy, and that Islam has within itself the resources to combat its more extreme interpretations) is the implicit message conveyed within the story. It turns out that, according to the story, the real terrorists, the guys who run things and call the shots, are really just opportunistic hypocrites. The leaders of the terrorist cell that is at the heart of this story have lots of money, enjoy wine and women and cigars and nice cars. They are really just capitalists who are exploiting the faith of the pawns they use as suicide bombers in order to enrich themselves. There may be a good deal of truth to this -- but I think it oversimplifies things, suggesting that the heart of all global conflict is just greed. That's a message that is easy to swallow, but doesn't offer much in the way of insight. ...more info
- A Riveting Terrorism Thriller
This is an action packed show that crisscrosses the globe from Africa to Europe to the United States.
It features Don Cheadle as Samir Horn, an American Muslim who was born in Sudan. His father was murdered by some faction which greatly impacted Samir's life. He was a Special Forces soldier who is now being hunted by the FBI as a terrorist.
FBI Special Agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) is relentlessly pursuing him from one continent to another. Clayton realizes that everything may not be as it seems.
This is a top notch thriller. Cheadle is superb in this role. There is nonstop action that will keep viewers entertained throughout. For anyone who loves an intense movie, this is a great one to get....more info
- Great Acting!
Don Cheadle is a great actor and this film illustrates his great acting ability. Two thumbs up!!!!!...more info
- Oh, I'm a Terrorist?
As someone who dislikes spoilers, it is hard to understand why the people behind Traitor would name it as such. It is easy to assume that with that name in big bold lettering above a picture of Don Cheadle (Traffic) that he would be playing a traitor. Yet for the first third of the two hour film it is ambiguous who the title refers to and you just wait for Cheadle to show his hand even though early in the film he is imprisoned for terrorist act.
His arrest raises the eyebrow of the FBI, Guy Pierce (Memento) in particular. Playing the bad cop to Pierce's good is Neil McDonough who is always a solid go to humongous tool even if he is on the right side of the law in this movie, but he does get the best lines. Also entangled in the storyline, and the keeper of who is the traitor, is Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber).
There is a big plot twist in the second third of the movie, but it has been done numerous times before so it shouldn't be that shocking as once the scene begins, it isn't hard to see what's coming. But Cheadle pulls another twist later that more than makes up for it. With that said, and the spoilerish title aside, Traitor is a solid film that you can tell was well research and as you can tell by the cast, it is well acted with all the actors bringing their A-game. So when you watch it, just forget the title and enjoy the popcorn....more info
- A deeper look into jihad and terrorism
This is one of those movies you really have to pay attention to or you'll miss something, like Deja Vu with Denzel Washington. Don Cheadle plays a Sudanese man who is a devout Muslim with Special Forces army training who appears to be helping terrorist groups with "random" bombings in the name of Allah, a bit like September 11. Guy Pearce plays the FBI agent also versed in the Koran and Arab studies looking to find and put a stop to the bombings and the terrorists behind them, including Cheadle. It's difficult to summarize the plot without spoiling it but that is the jist of what happens without ruining the movie.
The acting in the film is excellent. Cheadle gives his usual phenomenal performance and his grasp of the language (what dialect I am not sure) seems to be well rehearsed, as if he has been speaking it his entire life. Pearce, who I have seen only once before in The Count of Monte Cristo, also does a great job as a stoic and confident FBI agent. The box says Jeff Daniels is in the movie also, but his role, while important, is quite small. The movie is well written and very suspensful and I would recommend it if you enjoyed other movies such as Black Hawk Down. ...more info
- Whose side are you on?
Don cheadle and supporting cast did a good job in this movie. The movie has action, suspense, and a pretty good plot to keep you interested throughout the entire movie. The movie is slightly predictable but not so much to discourage you from watching the movie or to bore you. The cinematography was very impressive in the action scenes as well as scenes where there is just dialogue between characters. You won't be disappointed with watching this one....more info
- TERRORISM STILL EXISTS
It seems as though many people in the US have forgotten what happened on September 11th. Sure, the date remains fixed in our memories, but as the days progress beyond that point, we drift further and further away from the fact that an attack was launched on American soil that left 3000 dead. We feel complacent that another attack will never happen. It is such an attack that lies at the center of TRAITOR.
The film begins with a slow buildup that delivers a final punch worthy of great thrillers. The action is used sparsely but the story is more full than most films of this sort. And the acting of Don Cheadle shows just how good he truly is.
Cheadle stars as Samir Horn, born in the Sudan but now a US citizen. Having served in Afghanistan during the first initiative there, he made the decision to stay and to look deeper into the religion of his youth. This led to his becoming and explosives expert as well as an arms dealer.
Involved in a major deal, he is captured along with the group's ringleader, Omar (Said Taghmaoui). During their confinement to the typical movie style Middle Eastern prison, Omar begins to see that Samir is not your typical mercenary. Samir believes in the Koran and its teaching as witnessed in his defense of a poor prisoner by the jail yard bully.
The two become close and when the time comes for Omar to escape, he takes Samir along with him. Using his knowledge, expertise and ability to get the explosives needed for a major project they have planned, Samir becomes part of the group.
Running concurrently with this story is that of FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce). Straight laced all the way, Clayton has been trying to stop terrorists abroad when his path crosses that of Samir. That ended when Samir went to prison. It begins anew after an explosion in Spain where Samir was sighted.
The film deals with the life of a terrorist as he plots out the next major attack. It also runs into the spy thriller mode when it shows that this group has infiltrated the US with spy cells just waiting for the command to do damage.
A major twist in the story presents itself late into the film that turns the whole story around. If you paid attention while watching the preview for the film you guessed it already. *SPOILER* It turns out that Samir is actually working for the US government in the form of official Jeff Daniels, the only person to know this fact.
The twists add to the story as Samir is conflicted in what to do. He lives to serve God and country and yet feels that to serving his country he has abandoned God. Driven to desperate acts to protect us from the terrorists, Samir does things against the teachings of God. Keep in mind we're not talking Christian/Judeo God, we're talking God from the Koran.
And that's what makes this film good on another level. It looks at the beliefs of the Koran and how the terrorists use that belief to foment the youths that they gather to die. At the same time, the sentiments of the Koran for peace are discussed.
The main plan that the terrorists have concocted is one that could happen. It involves numerous explosions all over the country at once. And the chances of Samir to stop it grow slimmer with each moment as he attempts to cover both ends of the spectrum on this plot.
Cheadle is fantastic, showing the acting skills needed to make this believable and not just making Samir another James Bond suave, sophisticate attempting to blend in. No, in Cheadle's performance we see a man conflicted who believes strongly in his religion but who knows that evil is not defeated easily.
Guy Pearce does his usual stand up job as the more by the book agent trying to protect his country at all costs. The rest of the casts do a great job as well with Neal McDonough as Pearce's more violent prone partner and Alyy Kahn as the nefarious leader of the terrorists group.
Thrillers today seem more intent on gadgets and tricks than on the gut level approach to real problems in today's world. Make no mistake, the ideas seen here seem more real than most. And those who would do this country harm remain out there. While this movie might offer entertainment, action, adventure and a great performance, it is also a sobering reminder of where we are at today. And perhaps that's a good reminder to have.
- Later Traitor
Well made, but not very believable. A Hollywood attempt to go "behind the scenes" of Islamic terrorism (and U.S. counterterrorism) that only manages to play to all the usual stereotypes and clich¨¦s...more info
- Nothing More Than an Islamic Pity Party..PUKE!
I gave up after 45 mins of this turd. I don't know if the intention of the director was to have viewers "understand" why terrorists kill people or not. I was so disgusted by it and the anti-Americanism in the movie, I would have thrown it away if it had been mine. All the subtitles were equally annoying. Nothing like a religion that glorifies killing others.
Thank God, not "Allah" I didn't waste my money buying it.
God bless America!
- Excellent Suspense Drama With A Message...
This film is a suspenseful drama that looks into the world of espionage and the so-called war on terror with the view as advertised on the DVD jacket "the truth is complicated." Cheadle plays a Sudanese born US Army vet trained in explosives who is seemingly working with Islamic terrorists... though who he is actually working with is not as it seems - even to himself. There's a message in this film that the ends don't justify the means, and the characters are led to question whether it's right or just to kill for a cause just because you believe you are the good guys. Cheadle does an excellent job playing this troubled character, while Guy Pearce is the FBI agent who is pursuing him. One interesting thing depicted in the film is how intelligence operations are complex and that terror groups are often being steered by government agents/informants, who in some cases lead what can be considered false flag terror - and the public reports about the events are based on disinfo created by government intelligence operatives. This film encourages us to look deeper at what's going on and question anyone who believes they are killing or sacrificing lives for a god-sanctioned agenda. The only weakness I found in the film was that there are a few loose ends in the film that don't get explained... but that's like real life where we can't find out everything....more info
- A Good But Nothing New
I am not going to give a plot synopsis as the twists are the whole point of the movie. But without giving away the twists...
Traitor is about a terrorist plot to wreak havoc in the heartland of America. At the heart of the terrorist group is an Sammy (Don Cheadle). He saw his father get blown up in the Sudan. He was raised by his American mother until he was expelled from school and joined the Army. But he became disallusioned in the Gulf War and has fallen in with a group that has been terriorising Europe and is now ready to strike at America. Hot on his tracks are two FBI agents (Guy Pearce and Neal McDonough)
the movie is fast paced but this subject matter has been well trod by better movies and especially TV specials. This is an good movie with the usual great performance by Don Cheadle. The remaining cast is equally great.
This is a movie to see for the performances not for the script. Definitely a good rental or download....more info