Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Strong Cheadle Movie, December 29, 2008
This review is from: Traitor (DVD)
A good movie that makes you think, as other reviewers have indicated. From the beginning I was drawn to trying to figure out Cheadle's character (Samir Horn - the main character) - a devout Muslim clouded in ambiguity. In one of the first scenes, we observe him as a boy in Yemen witnessing his Sudanese father's murder via a terrorist attack - then we quickly jump to the present where for the first chunk of the film Horn is seemingly drawn into the terrorists' world and planning/executing major attacks on civilians. During this time we also find out that Horn's mom is American, and that Horn is a veteran of the U.S. Special Armed Forces, as well as witness flashes of his character, which is grounded in his Muslim beliefs - i.e. his concern for other, belief in non-violence/murder. While being drawn in by the depth of his character, you start to wonder if you're being made to sympathize for a terrorist - perhaps this is the statement of the movie. Just before this happens however, clues begin to appear about Horn's true intentions - though up until the end of the movie you are kept to wonder how it will all "work out".

Even after discovering how Horn fits into this whole mess, the ambiguity of his character remains; one divided between loyalties to his faith, his country, and to the greater good. For example, his faith is against murder - yet for Horn to accomplish his "mission" he has to keep pushing deeper and deeper into a terrorist network, even as more innocent people are murdered or threatened during the course of his actions. In doing so, he seems to be going for the greater good - but having trouble fitting that into his faith's ideological framework. All the while his country looms in the background - partly on his side, partly the enemy.

Other points I liked about the movie - I thought it did a good job of portraying aspects of the true Muslim faith - and showing a division between this and the "extremists" who claim the same faith. To some degree - and I hesitate to say this - it also showed aspects of the other side by humanizing parts of the "terrorists" - such as the Omar character. Yes - terrorism is terrible - but I think its needs to be understood that these individuals do not just sprout out from Satan, but are drawn into what they do by complex factors that - the more we understand the more we can move closer to ridding our world of such actions/murder.
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