Sunday, 26 February 2012

Traitor Review

Ultimately, this is really just another run of the mill movie about terrorism.  The story is kind of interesting though.  It features Don Cheadle as a former special forces operative that has found Islam and gone rogue into militant religious fanaticism.  The viewer is supposed to spend most of the time trying to figure out if he is ultimately good or bad.  For the most part, they do a decent job of masking his true intentions and, when they are finally revealed, there is no ambiguity to make you question anything.  In this, they have done a decent job of not making a double agent type movie too complicated with twists and turns that ultimately lead to a conclusion that is inevitable.  I did like that about it.  Double agent terrorist and spy movies tend to get confusing and dig too deep into the intrigue.  Traitor didn't do that and they made a movie that was pretty easy to follow.

I also like their use of international settings.  Nothing was over the top exotic.  They go from Yemen to France to the UK to the US to Canada.  While some of these places could be seen as exotic, all of the chosen locales and settings were very realistic to the nature of what the characters needed at the time.  From start to finish, the whole thing felt quite plausible.

So, they take a good story premise and film it very well.  However, they completely derail it with some very bad writing and subpar deliveries from some very decent actors.  The movie has Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Jeff Daniels in it.  These three are all accomplished and decent actors in their own right.  Not one of them was overly convincing in their line delivery.  The best would have been Pearce and he made me say, "meh"; especially due to a very fake southern accent.  I refuse to believe that all of these actors would phone it in on their own volition.  My best guess is that the director was just unable to motivate anyone to pick up their game.  And it's hard to do that when the writing is this contrived and, in some places, this cheesy.

I'm torn.  On the one hand, it is well shot and progresses well.  On the other hand, you have to sit through bad line after bad line.  Given the fact that we have a lot of good terrorist/espionage movies to choose from, I'd have to say Don't see it.  If it's free and you don't feel like searching for anything else though, it isn't a terrible thing to watch.

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