Movie review: ‘Traitor’ needs more gut, less brain

3 Sep

Cheadle plays a character who may or may not be a hero.

By M. Scott Morris

A movie has built-in tension when terrorists are planning a major attack in the United States.
In “Traitor,” the audience sees several high-profile explosions, so we know the bad guys mean business.
And we’ve got a conflicted hero in Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), who makes friends with a terrorist leader and joins his group. We’re not exactly sure about Horn’s loyalties or intentions.
Guy Pearce plays Roy Clayton, an FBI agent who’s convinced that Horn, a U.S. resident, has turned his back on his country. Clayton orchestrates a worldwide manhunt, while Horn and the terrorists make their plans.
So you’ve got two questions: Will Horn save the day? If not, will the FBI?
Those questions kept me interested from start to finish, but it was a low-burn type of interest. If you’re looking for edge-of-the-seat excitement, you won’t find it here.
There’s an intellectual distance to this movie, which makes sense because the cerebral Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) helped screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff come up with the story.
Tension exists from the start of the movie, but it doesn’t sufficiently increase at the climax. I found the end unsatisfying, which could’ve been on purpose: How many real-life victories in the war on terror are clear-cut and cathartic?
The emotional distance may have been necessary to tell the story that the filmmakers wanted to tell, but I would’ve preferred more of an investment from Horn that went beyond moral and intellectual ideals.
I give “Traitor” a C.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Wizard review

Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives ‘Traitor’ a C.
“I found the movie fascinating, but I wish it had been about 45 minutes shorter,” she said.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

2 Responses to “Movie review: ‘Traitor’ needs more gut, less brain”

  1. bobby September 5, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Everytime I read this blog I get so sick of Kelli Karlson’s opinion of a movie she wouldn’t know a good movie if it slapped her in the face wich I wish one would, maybe that would shut her up for a while.

  2. sheenabarnett September 7, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Bobby, I think that’s a little harsh, eh?
    I think Kelli does a good job of telling us all what she thought about the movies she reviews. She’s got her favorite kinds of movies like everybody else, so she’s not going to like everything.
    Let’s try to disagree about what the person said, rather than threatening violence.

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