by Tony Medley
Run Time 100 minutes
Guy Pearce, who plays FBI
agent Roy Clayton, said, “This films deals with a subject many people
might find difficult to deal with.” What he’s talking about is that it’s
a story that was born with comedian Steve Martin and put onto celluloid
by writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff about a devout Muslim, Samir Horn
(Don Cheadle), who might be devoting his life to exposing radical
Islamic extremists. Nachmanoff is the right guy to convert this dubious
idea to film because his last film was the ludicrous “The Day After
Tomorrow” (2004), one of the most ridiculous films ever made, which he
co-wrote with Roland Emmerich.
Just as the facts in that film were imbecilic, trying to create an
Islamic hero defending the good guys is just as out of touch with
reality. If only there were some Muslims who would stand up to the
terrorists, we wouldn’t be fighting a war in Iraq.
Samir knows how to make
bombs and he’s deeply involved in a group trying to blow up people,
especially Americans. Roy Clayton (Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal
McDonough) are FBI agents combating Islamic terrorism and they have
Samir in their sights. Omar (Saďd Taghaoui) is one of the prime movers
in the terrorist group and is Samir’s friend. Leyla (Mozhan Marno) is
Samir’s girlfriend. Carter (Jeff Daniels) is apparently running Samir as
an off-the-books agent.
Samir quotes the Koran to
justify his position. We’ve all heard about the many quotations in the
Koran that exhort Muslims to kill “infidels” (anyone who doesn’t accept
Allah and Mohammed), so it’s strange to hear some of the quotes of Samir
that sound like they came from the Christian Bible. It came across to me
that Nachmanoff cherry picked quotes to find something favorable.
This is a tough sell, a
favorable picture of a Muslim actually fighting Muslim extremism.
Nachmanoff is a better director than Emmerich, fortunately, doing a
pretty good job of creating and maintaining tension, especially since we
really aren’t sure where Samir is coming from. But the politically
correct treatment is too counter-factual to muster the emotion required
for emotional involvement.
Cheadle gives a pretty good
performance despite the implausible story, as do Pearce and McDonough.
Why the filmmakers imported an Aussie like Pearce to play the Tennessean
Clayton is beyond me, even though he’s a very good character actor.
This is unlikely to inspire
August 27, 2008