French-Pakistani filmmaker Jamil Dehlavi unwisely co-opts elements of the story of Daniel Pearl to forge a complex and international post-9/11 thriller that clumsily shoehorns every hot topic under the sun into a digitally shot drama of high aims, middling production values and low intelligence. It’s 2001, and American TV reporter Arnold Silverman (Kevin Collins) is a prisoner of Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan who kills time by playing chess with one of his captors, mild-mannered Kamal (Raza Jaffrey). Flashbacks rewind through both men’s lives: Silverman is a idealistic journalist who lost his sister on 9/11 and who defies his bosses to pursue a terrorist, while Kamal is a Brit for whom bullying at his genteel school was the beginning of his radicalisation. Dehlavi wants to show that well-intentioned and intelligent people exist on both sides of the divide but are often manipulated and betrayed by their superiors, whether jihadists or television producers, but his recourse to wild conspiracy and the crutch of Pearl’s murder does his case no favours whatsoever.
Cast and crew