The Kingdom in the title refers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an isolated country governed by laws that are drastically different from the ones in most of the world. Extremely rich in oil, The Kingdom does what The Kingdom wants, as we could see in the intro. Based on two separate real-life incidents, the movie centers around a crew of American personal dispatched to Saudi Arabia to get to the bottom of an attack. You can find the links for the incidents at the end of the review. This is a very interesting geopolitical thriller offering us a look into one of the more secretive countries in the world. Especially interesting considering the long-lasting friendship between the USA and Saudi Arabia.
I will skip the whole Saudi rant about how because of their huge wealth they’ve been able to get away with some pretty horrific things. I mean, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is just one of the more recent ones. Also, I don’t need to tell you about the position of women in society. There are plenty of documentaries and news reports you can check out for that, Yemen, and other stuff. I’ll just end this part with the notion that most of these things have to do with the ruling elite, pretty much the same as in any other country. The people living there are a completely different story and that story isn’t that black and white. The Internet is the great equalizer and I think soon we will all be much more alike.
After a terrorist attack on an American oil company housing compound, a special team of investigators is sent to the site. Their job is to further investigate the attack. However, they will soon realize that this will be quite difficult. The political pressure will start to mount and their presence in The Kingdom will become a problem.
The Kingdom is a brutal and realistic movie. It also features excellent action sequences, great acting and a very strange pace. After a furious beginning, the middle part was relatively tiresome but the finale was freaking awesome. Still, I loved the political angle and the fact that the Saudis were not shown as some crazy guys. They have an air of complexity and authenticity about them, helping with the immersion factor greatly. I know it sounds strange that I’m commending them for not doing the wrong thing but in this type of movie, it could’ve easily happened. Also, I would love to see the original cut of the movie featuring additional 45 minutes of footage.
This is perhaps the reason for that strange pace because The Kingdom tries to be both political and an action thriller. It doesn’t go all the way in, it just dips its toe and says I think I’m gonna stick to the action part. However, if this was the price we had to pay to get Lone Survivor, I’m willing to pay it. Peter Berg, whom you might remember as Dr. Billy Cronk from Chicago Hope, directed both of them. So, if you’re looking for something different and refreshing, check out The Kingdom.
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Jeremy Piven
Fun Facts: The original cut of the movie was two and half hours long. However after Universal complained, Berg had to come up with a shorter version.
True Events: Khobar Towers bombing and Riyadh compound bombings
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0431197/