Traitor

Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(5 user reviews)
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The war on terror inspires works of earnest mediocrity: from ‘Rendition’ to ‘The Kingdom’, Hollywood’s efforts have resulted in clumsy, downbeat thrillers awash with over-saturated colour and wailing pseudo-ethnic music.

If ‘Traitor’ is a cut above, it’s largely thanks to Don Cheadle, whose weighty, likeable but ambiguous turn anchors an overly complicated story. Cheadle is an American arms dealer imprisoned in Yemen, who rediscovers his Muslim roots and joins the jihad only to find himself shipped to train suicide attackers in the US. The first half is dark and compelling – it draws us into the world of the terrorist and displays a courageous ethical and narrative complexity.

But, once the pieces fall into place, it loses momentum, meandering towards a contrived climax in which all ambiguity is swept aside and the forces of righteous democracy prove reassuringly triumphant.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday March 27 2009
Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Screenwriter: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Cast: Archie Panjabi
Guy Pearce
Jeff Daniels
Saïd Taghmaoui
Don Cheadle
Aly Khan
Neal McDonough

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|7
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nicknickn
Tastemaker

This is gripping spy thriller about recruiting and dispatching suicide bombers and about the enforcement agencies attempting to prevent them.

Don Cheadle is excellent as a devout Muslim bomb expert, training suicide bombers. His internal strife keeps you guessing which side he is on. Guy Pearce is also very good as an American agent trying to stop him.

The story was written by Steve Martin, better known for his comedy. It is clever and has enough twists to hold your interest until close to the end. The direction is dark and gritty and suits the subject matter.

The ending is at odds with the rest of the film in that it ties up all the loose ends a little too nicely but, I guess, with a more realistic ending, it probably would not have been made at all.

Andy S

Not bad...not amazingly gripping but Cheadle is very good, and Guy Pearce excellent as ever, if underused. Loads of locations and lots to think about, but the finale was contrived and lacked satisfaction. Good, but not great.

Andy S

Not bad...not amazingly gripping but Cheadle is very good, and Guy Pearce excellent as ever, if underused. Loads of locations and lots to think about, but the finale was contrived and lacked satisfaction. Good, but not great.