Traitor 2008 Movie Scene Don Cheadle as Samir Horn and Saïd Taghmaoui as Omar giving a young kid a suicide vest

Traitor [2008]

Fucking Steve Martin, who knew that he had such good ideas for movies that are not comedies. He even produced Traitor along with my man Don Cheadle who also stars in this masterpiece. After seeing The Guard [2011] I kept wondering why Don doesn’t have more movies with him in the lead role. He’s certainly capable of carrying the entire movie on his back as he proved with Hotel Rwanda. Here, he was stellar along with Guy Pierce, Saïd Taghmaoui and Jeff Daniels. Jeff would go on to star in the tv show The Looming Tower about the rivalry of CIA and FBI set against the backdrop of 9/11. We do see some of it here, so if you’re looking for something similar, be sure to check this one out.

Traitor features an intelligent script and an engaging story that’s above all realistic and not pandering to the audience. This is something of a rarity when it comes to movies exploring terrorism. Amplified by an ambiguous and subdued performance by Cheadle, you really can’t guess what’s going to happen next. And that’s what makes this movie exciting. It also delves deep into the moral dilemmas that people working in counter-terrorism face.

Samir Horn finds himself in prison in Yemen. He was just about to finish his arms deal when something went wrong. A devout Muslim with a history in the U.S. Army Special Forces, he’s a very dangerous man. While in prison, he befriends Omar, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Soon, the two of them will set off on a very dangerous journey…

The story in Traitor arches several times, never losing focus and the same thing goes for the characters. Complex and flawed, they are convincing so you actually care about them. This is a definition of a character-driven movie that’s not boring or pretentious. It will make you think about the issues it explores and look at them from a different perspective. Plus they fucking nailed the ending.

With a bit slower pace, Traitor speeds up with that phenomenal and engaging atmosphere. The action sequences are well-directed and to the point, so don’t expect some grand shootouts and explosions. Mostly because here everything serves a higher purpose: to tell a story. If you want some of that, you can check out The Kingdom, starring Jamie Foxx. Additionally, you might wanna check out Body of Lies and Green Zone.

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Writer: Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Steve Martin

Cast: Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Saïd Taghmaoui, Neal McDonough, Archie Panjabi, Jeff Daniels

Fun Facts: Co-writer/director Jeffrey Nachmanoff met with several intelligence professionals, political observers and other specialists to make his script as realistic as possible.


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