Thursday, December 11, 2008

Traitor DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Drama Features Don Cheadle as Possible Manchurian Muslim Mole

This international thriller revolves around the 007-like exploits of Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), a U.S. Special Forces Agent serving overseas in a covert, counterespionage operation in Yemen where he’s attempting to imbed himself in a cell of Arab religious fanatics. He is able to gain the gang’s confidence by convincing its ringleader (Said Taghmaoui) that he’s a devout Muslim from Sudan. Soon thereafter, the two bond as blood brothers sworn to perform crimes against humanity in the name of Allah.

Next, the pair mastermind a series of attacks not only in the Middle East, but in Europe and America, too. Samir, as an Army-trained explosives expert, is able to train suicide bombers while outfitting them with detonators. By accident, this development comes to the attention of the interagency task force led by FBI agents Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough).

They, of course, are curious about the identity of this ostensibly-disloyal American, and wonder whether he’s truly a traitor or merely an al-Qaeda infiltrator on a secret mission. Determining the answer without blowing Samir’s cover proves to be easier said than done, and writer/director Jeffrey Nachmanoff is very adept at keeping his audience guessing for almost as long as the investigating officers themselves remain in a quandary.

Also Credit Don Cheadle’s masterful performance for making the movie riveting for its duration. For he ever so convincingly plays Samir as a seemingly-conflicted soul who just might be a Manchurian Muslim mole. Perhaps of more significance is how the movie seeks to serve as a sophisticated appeal to tolerance by its deliberate differentiating between radical Islam and the moderate Muslim majority.

A curious whodunit which has you far more focused on the mindset than the apprehension of what might be a mass murderer.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for brief profanity, mature themes, and intense violence.

In English and Arabic with subtitles.

Running time: 114 minutes

Studio: Anchor Bay

DVD Extras: Commentary by the director and Don Cheadle, behind-the-scenes footage, plus another featurette.

To see a trailer for Traitor, visit:

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