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Struggling With The Gray Areas

  • Mar 23, 2009
Don Cheadle stars as former U.S. Special Ops Officer Samir Horn and Guy Pearce plays the FBI agent hot on his trail in Traitor. The film opens with Horn as a child in Sudan learning his Muslim faith from his father. Then we see Horn witness his father's death via a car bomb.

Hurtle forward into modern times and we find Samir trying to cut a deal with Muslim terrorists. He is captured in a raid in Yemen and soon finds himself offered assistance by the FBI in return for crucial information on terrorist cells all over the world. When he refuses to help, he is left to rot in a Yemeni prison where he forms a close bond with a fellow Muslim named Omar (Said Taghmaoui).

The pair, along with a number of Omar's cohorts, escape the prison and meet up with the Islamic Brotherhood. From there, the film goes across the globe, allowing the viewer to witness a number of terrorists acts that are headed up by Samir's knowledge of weapons and of the Qu'ran.

Meanwhile, FBI Agent Clayton (Pearce) and his team are trying to find out who is pulling off all of the terrorists bombings. Soon enough Clayton pegs Samir as a prime suspect and the chase is one.

The viewer is forced to question the motives of Samir from the very beginning. Is he truly a terrorist? Perhaps he is just a loyal fanatical Muslim who believes that glory awaits those who strike down the infidel? Maybe he's doing this all to bring down the real bad guys? You'll have to watch the film to find out, since saying too much more will spoil the film.

Cheadle does an excellent job as the mysterious Samir Horn. Guy Pearce is wonderful as the minister's son-turned-lawman, Clayton. Said Taghmaoui is brilliant as the highly intelligent and near-fanatical Muslim believer, Omar. The supporting cast, which features Jeff Daniels, the always reliable and completely underrated Neal McDonough, Alyy Khan, Archie Panjabi and Hassam Ghancy, give solid performances as well.

What I personally found enjoyable about this film is that Islam is dicussed by fanatics, loyalists and outsiders who both fear and respect the faith. Samir's interactions with Omar and Clayton on Islam are brilliant, and show the viewer that there's a whole lot more to Islam than blowing up the infidel and declaring Jihad on everyone.

While the film does run a bit slow at times it is, overall, a tight suspense drama with just enough action to keep it interesting. It is an intelligent film and I highly recommend it to people interested in the subjects of espionage, terrorism and religion. Highly recommended.

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August 11, 2009
I enjoyed this film for the most part as well, though I do agree with you, it does get slow at points.  Cheadle does do an excellent job!  I just can't wait to see him in the sequel toIron Man
More Traitor reviews
review by . December 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
DVD cover
There have been quite a good number of espionage thrillers and undercover police films. "TRAITOR" is equal parts detective story and equal parts terrorist thriller. The direction and screenplay by Jeffrey Nachmanoff is taut, gripping and well blends together elements from the Hong Kong hit "Infernal Affairs" and the Bourne franchise, but it is also filed with social and theological undertones and messages. After an arms deal in Yemen had gone awry, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda) is arrested …
review by . June 03, 2009
Premise: Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Neal McDonough (did not catch the character's name) are FBI agents who are investigating several suicide bombings around the world. Their main suspect, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle)- an American citizen, seems to be clearly connected to the extremist group claiming responsibility for the bombings. As Samir masterfully evades the agents, Clayton comes to realize that everything is not as it seems and evidence is not as clear-cut as he first believed it to be. (I don't …
review by . May 26, 2009
Traitor poster
Traitor is one of those films that is nothing like how the trailer makes it out to be.  In some cases, this is a really bad thing and in others, like Traitor, a good thing.  Don Cheadle gives a great performance in the movie as does Guy Pierce who for some reason I always get mixed up with Ethan Hawke.  Traitors biggest problem is that it never picks up; from start to finish the film acts like one giant climax.    When the FBI leads an investigation into an Islam …
review by . March 03, 2009
Samir Horn: The truth is complicated     This movie is the brainchild of Steve Martin, who switches comedy for more serious fare as executive producer of this gripping spy thriller that goes behind the scenes of a terrorist organization known as the Islamic Brotherhood.     As intense as he was in Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle gives a first-rate performance as Samir Horn, an explosives expert trained by the US Army Special Forces, who becomes deeply involved with …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


Traitor is a 2008 American spy thriller film, based on an idea by Steve Martin who is also an executive producer. Written and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, the film stars Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce.

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Movies, Drama Movies, Thriller Movies, Islam, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Guy Pearce Movies, Neal Mcdonough


Genre: Drama, Thriller
Release Date: 27 August 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Steve Martin
Runtime: 114 min
Studio: Overture Films
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