Thursday, 22 April 2010

Film Review: TRAITOR (2008)

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 12

UK Release Date: 27th March 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd April 2010.


This film deals with terrorism, in particular terrorist acts performed in the name of Islam. As you can imagine, it’s quite a tricky subject to make a movie about, particularly in this day and age. To a large extent, and going by my limited knowledge of the subject, I think the filmmakers pulled it off. The story follows two characters, Samir Horn, a devout Muslim, and Roy Clayton, an FBI agent, out to thwart the attempts of a particular group of Muslim terrorists that Samir is involved with.

Samir Horn was born in Sudan, North Africa, where he was brought up as a Muslim by his father, who was killed in a car bomb. Having immigrated to Chicago with his mother he became a soldier and trained as an explosives expert. Having served in Afghanistan he becomes radicalised and stays there after his tour of duty is over. The film picks him up in Yemen where he is visiting an old friend from Afghanistan and, at the same time trying to sell them some explosives. The compound is raided by the Yemeni police and Samir is arrested. Whilst in police custody he meets Roy Clayton and his colleague Max Archer, who try to get him to give them evidence of the terrorists in exchange for passage back to America. He refuses and ends up in a Yemeni jail. Here he is befriended by Omar, who was also at the compound and is deeply involved with a terrorist cell. They escape and head to Marseilles, southern France, where another bombing is planned but fails to take place. Meanwhile, Clayton and Archer are monitoring things trying to find Samir. He is their only lead to the terrorists. The group now moves to Niece where Samir successfully sets off a bomb at the American consulate. Moving again to London we get a hint that Samir is not all he seems when he meets a shady character called Carter. The plot then moves across the globe to Canada and then to the United States where a truly terrible act is planned. Samir is now clearly having a clash on conscience, should he follow his faith, or the terrorists. I could say a lot more about this very intriguing film, but I don’t want to give too many spoilers away.

This is a pretty well made film, obviously on a limited budget, but I though it was well shot and some great locations were used. Very decent performances from all of the cast, honourable mentions go to Don Cheadle as Samir Horn, Guy Pearce as Roy Clayton (great accent), Saïd Taghmaoui as Omar, Neal McDonough as Max Archer, Alyy Khan as Fareed and Jeff Daniels as Carter.

As I’ve already said, this is a very intriguing film tackling a very delicate subject, which I thought was done pretty well. It’s quite a taught thriller with plenty of plot twists to keep you watching. It did get a little bogged down in the last third, but over all I thought is was quite an exciting and thought provoking film, recommended.

My score: 6.7/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site:

No comments: