Monday, September 8, 2008

TRAITOR

“TRAITOR” (Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Said Taghmaoui & Jeff Daniels)
“Traitor” is a very good film, but as Don Cheadle’s character Samir says to his girlfriend, “The truth is... it’s complicated.” Now the plot isn’t complicated. Most of the characters are easily defined & we know enough about their background to know who they are & what their purpose in the movie is, with one exception – Jeff Daniels plays Carter, Samir’s lone contact, & we have no idea who he is – Is he FBI? CIA? or just a rogue detective wanting to stop terrorists in his neck of the woods? Or... is he a terrorist himself, using Samir as a dupe to plot another 9/11-ish attack on U.S. soil?
So it was complicated for Samir to explain to his girlfriend how he became involved with a terrorist organization & how he rose to the top of the FBI’s most wanted list; what isn’t complicated is following the plot of ‘Traitor’ – As long as we discovered the ‘truth’ about Jeff Daniels’ character...
Guy Pearce plays the FBI man intent on tracking down & stopping Samir & his fellow terrorists from fulfilling their ‘duty to Allah’ by bombing hundreds of innocent American civilians. I have read where some say he & Cheadle give Oscar-worthy performances...
Here we go again! They are both good in this film (Cheadle especially) but both were better in recent performances; Don in last year’s “Talk To Me” & Guy in “The Proposition” & no one buzzed about those great showings... As of this moment in 2008, would they be on my list of
Best Actor/Supporting Actor possibilities? Yes, they would, but due only to the fact that there
is NO competition right now. (More on that in a different blog)
But as I said, this is a very good film & a rarity for its ilk in that it IS easy to follow, despite the few surprises that crop up. But, as with almost every film I view these days,
I DO have my complaints. I don’t want to give away the terrorists’ plot of how they plan to pull off the next 9/11 disaster, but I found it odd that they went to great extremes to protect their identities – If you wanted America to ‘wake up’ to the atrocities its government has been committing around the world, wouldn’t you want the people of America to know who was behind this master plan? I mean, if you were indeed doing these heinous acts to grab the public’s attention, don’t you almost Have to reveal who you are so they better understand?
Despite this complaint, I thought that Said Taghmaoui, playing Omar, the terrorist that befriends Samir did an excellent job – he made me believe he actually ‘felt’ what his character was doing was ‘righteous’.
There’s another scene, late in the film where the masterminds behind the attacks are escaping by boat; The head bodyguard informs Samir that there are 6 other bodyguards onboard – yet when the proverbial poop hits the fan, none of these half dozen armed protectors show up? & if it was their purpose to protect the evil genius’s – why weren’t any of them in the same room to begin with?
The ‘twist’ at the end where the terrorists are ‘subdued’ didn’t make sense to me at first –
I can’t really go into detail without giving the ending away – but my wife came up with a plausible explanation for it – which, in my annoying fashion, I found a way to over-rule.
For those of you who have seen it, please send me your comments on what you thought of Samir’s ‘trick’ that semi-foiled the terrorists’ plans & I’ll elaborate more as to why it didn’t make sense to me.
So, yes I had a couple of problems with the ending & the Jeff Daniels’ character not being fleshed out enough, but for the most part, “Traitor” is both an intriguing & enjoyable ride & that is not an easy task to pull off...

3 comments:

eddie said...

yes, it was a pretty good movie. Pearce and Cheadle are solid and pick good projects. i don't think they have been in a bad movie as far as i remember. i can go back over 10 years ago to pta's boogie nights with cheadle. speaking of pta, a lot of people seem to be 50-50 on anderson's decision to film TWBB w/o his regulars of riley, hoffman, guzman and macey.
i diagree. i feel i think it was a bold move to leave his comfort zone and work without his regulars.
now i have to see if there any other films i have seen that you reviewed.

terry r. said...

Eddie, how quickly you forget -
Prior to being in Ocean's 11, 12 & 13 - Don was also involved with 'Rush Hour 2', 'Swordfish' & 'Mission To Mars'... so his 'good' projects intuition isn't as keen as you think - It was easy to be swayed by his performances in 'Crash' & 'Hotel Rwanda' as well as being a part of one of the most under-rated films of the past dozen or so years, 'The
Assassination Of Richard Nixon' where he played Sean Penn's best friend. So Don's picked a few clunkers, but he's still an excellent actor & 'Traitor' is a solid flick. Guy I haven't seen very much of - I just remember he shined in 'The Proposition'.

Alan Smithee said...

Pearce was great in "L. A. Confidential" as Ed Exley.