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Traitor - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}The Bourne series was one of those unexpected bolts of quality that comes along so seldomly that it shakes things up immediately. The studios, ever watchful as to where our so-called disposable income goes, see a pattern, and everyone tries to ‘get one of those'. Of course quickly we tire of countless knock offs and then people try to change it just a little, hoping to reignite things.

While it's unquestionable Bourne has changed the modern interpretation of what an action movie should be (with even Bond falling into a more realistic realm in its wake) the consistent efforts of the last couple of years to make action films ‘realistic' by way of topical subject matter has yet to prove profitable. So it begs the question why are they still trying to do it?

Traitor, another topical espionage actioner, is yet another attempt to combine an action movie with a relevant contemporary subject matter in this case the terrorist and subsequent prejudice of the Muslim faith.

TraitorWriter/Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff brings us the intersecting story of straight-laced FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce), fighting the ‘good fight' against terrorism; and Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), a former US Special Forces troop disenfranchised with his country and seeking answers in some very suspect parts of the world. Inevitably, and quickly, these two men intersect, and when Samir is suspected of terrorist activity, Clayton is charged to bring him in.

What follows is a fairly intricately weaved, globe-trotting chase movie that admirably tries to show all facets of the major players, from the so-called good guys to the terrorists themselves. What doesn't come through at the end is exactly what this film wants to be. It obviously has some ambition to be a rollicking action thriller, but falls short with its pacing not ratcheting up for the desired affect, nor the action itself being anything close to spectacular. Its moments of pause, in service to character development, do not feel organic to the plot at times, and take you out of the story and more importantly slow the momentum.
Don Cheadle is no stranger to critical acclaim. In this role, he gives such a strong hint as to the kind of franchise-worthy character he could easily inhabit that it becomes frustrating to watch this film slip away. His physical capabilities are on par with Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, his acting cream of the crop, but the character of Samir never gets above the simple contrivance of showing that there is a difference between fanatical interpretations of the Koran and the beliefs of the general Muslim community. Well, sorry, but I think most of us already know that any organisation, whether Muslim, Christian, or whatever, that endorses the deaths of innocent people, is misinterpreting their faith. Cheadle's character could have been so much more. His relationship with his girl is never fully realised and left open-ended. His devotion to his government is wrapped up in a clichéd unbelievable way it's a shame, because his character could have been so much more than a walking message board. Write Cheadle an iconic character to play and watch out Denzel.

The performances all round are first rate. Taking any one element from the film, in fact, certainly impresses for its modest budget. But the fact remains that these consistent attempts to entertain us with topical stories about the problems we face today are going down as well as dog-shit porridge - no one's turning up.

Traitor is a well made film with quality participants, and is certainly worth a look. But for the topic at hand, as passionate a subject as it should be, one comes away feeling more disappointed than affected. The sum of it parts just don't equal its intentions.

Component Grades
3 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: Optional English SDH and Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Director Nachmanoff and Producer/Actor Cheadle
* Featurettes
o Action!
o International Espionage
* Previews - Original theatrical trailer for Traitor - anamorphic and framed in 1.78:1

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging


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