Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Another "t" movie review by yours truly. I had a chance to screen "Traitor" with Jeff the producer of the film staring Jon Cheadle and Guy Pierce. The movie is great to encourage your "non-Muslim" American friends to go watch. I personally found the movie to not be worthwhile in its storyline, acting, character development or content- it did however, set a new standard for the "terrorism" genre of movies now oozing out of Hollywood.
In the movie, Samir is the protagonist (Cheadle's character) who is a devout Muslim and undercover within a terrorist group planning bombings across the globe. He is conflicted because as a Muslim he is carrying out bombings in order to kill, disrupt and destroy the terrorist organization he has infiltrated with innocent people dying in the process.
For this sole reason I think the movie is a worthwhile watch for non-Muslims because it challenges a list of notions about Islams, Muslims and American Muslims. For example, here the Muslims that are the bad guys are the ones that take up the secular robe- drink, fornicate, piercing, tattoos etc- while the good devout Muslims are the ones who have beards, pray, wear hijab. The strong Muslims who stick to the religious principles are also women in this movie. Cheadles character also challenges on many occasions the perverted notions espoused by the terrorists. Another important factor is the FBI is given a role through Guy Pierces character that is intelligent, not the bust the door down arrest everyone and their momma sorta of agent.
The movie will be "stomach churning" for Muslims. I mean to sit and watch a flick that goes through and shows how Hollywood portrays terrorists, who are Muslims, using Islam to justify their cause is never an easy process because it forces Muslims to come to terms with a reality, though existing and heard of on a daily basis, is not experienced in day to day life and practice. The majority of Muslims will find many things in the movie that do not fit the Islam and so will have a hard time to sit through a movie because a movie, like a radio show, does not allow you to counter the message being put forth and forces you to sit and take it in.
One thing the Jeff, the producer pointed out, was that he admitted that movies in the terrorism genre portraying Muslim have been very black and white, while growing up in England during the Ireland conflict, the characters and storyline of movies and shows portraying that conflict consistently portrayed it as being more complicated and dynamic then the simplistic Irish are evil sort. He mentioned that that is lacking in Hollywood and in America and while it was not his goal to bring that to Hollywood it was definitely important for him to develop a story that was larger then nabbing the "bad guy".
With no outlet to vent or protest the obvious problematic themes reoccurring in the movie, it leaves a Muslim with very little good will toward the director or actors. Its best for Muslims to avoid the film and encourage their friends and neighbors to go watch and get a different perspective, because in this film, the devout practicing Muslim as portrayed by Cheadle is the hero.
You can read better reviews of the film here, here and here.