Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Traitor


Jeffrey Nachmanoff is not a household name, and the only movie he worked on you might be familiar with is Day After Tomorrow (screenwriter) although the parts of that film that spring to memory are the special effects, not the script. As writer/director of Traitor Nachmanoff just jump started the wave of serious films that follow the summer blockbusters.
The story is tightly constructed right down to major twists that jolt the middle and second to third act breaks. The plot will remind some of Syriana but that's due to the film's attitude about politics and terrorism. One person mentioned that Traitor reminded them of Body of Lies, a Ridley Scott flick nobody has seen, but again that has to do with the subterfuge of government agents and not any actual plot points. Taken on its own terms Traitor provides a serious story and a credible character that allows Don Cheadle to go to town.
Cheadle owns this film but gains momentum by playing off the equally excellent Guy Pearce, Neal McDonough, Jeff Daniels and as a Jihadist, Saïd Taghmaoui. Cheadle's Roy Clayton is a cipher of a character and the audience will not be able to figure him out any more than the various agents chasing him. When we first meet Clayton he's selling explosives to the highest bidder. Before long we realize that every agency or group has some kind of mole feeding surreptitious info to their superiors.
Traitor pays off with well timed explosions that balances the more intimate human drama that flows throughout. Locations revolve around the world with the climax culminating in a bombing mission meant to disrupt a typical American Thanksgiving holiday. Traitor has a sleek tone thats bolstered by accurate portrayals of its various international players. The terrorists are as human as the FBI agents, a point that makes Traitor more than just a good guy chases bad guy movie.



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