Worthy but Flawed Effort, 31 October 2007
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is impossible to pass judgement on this film without putting it into a political context.America sees the World very differently from Europe, and differently again from a Middle East perspective. As an American effort to shake off its shackles of myopia,self interest, conceit and ignorance, this is groundbreaking stuff. As a story it is fine. As a meaningful insight into Middle Eastern affairs, it is lightweight.
The opening sequence of the bombing of the Compound is superb. Taut, sharply edited,frenzied and compelling.However when we cut to the fallout in America some “diverse” casting appears hackneyed.Jamie Foxx as the black FBi leader never quite establishes his credentials, either within character, or for the role,and Jennifer Garners role in saving the hostage at the end is quite frankly risible.
The key Saudi figure, Police chief,Faris Al Ghazi, played by Ashraf Barhom, is given room to breathe and delivers a fine performance of light and shade.A minor pleasure is in hearing the Saudi’s berate the FBI agents for their casual profanities.Most American cop films are predicated on the assumption that all cops have the mouths of sewer rats.
The “investigation” itself is a bit of a mish mash and really unfolds as a plot device to get to the explosive finale.Some decent scene setting is done in the opening credits. But no real attempt is made to explain the motivation for the bombers actions.
as the two hour running time closes you are forced to ask yourself what has actually happened and been achieved, and the answer is not much. However if this film does help to whet the appetite of the American public for Hollywood to start to make more films about the Middle East, it will have done its job. But be under no illusions, this is no “Apocalypse Now” “Hamburger Hill” “Platoon” for the 21st century in influencing public opinion on American foreign policy.