Saturday, August 28, 2010


2008, US, directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Traitor is one of the stronger entries in post-9/11 cinema, painting a strong picture of the moral compromises that are an inevitable part of US policy in the "war on terror," and presenting a particularly convincing critique of the ways in which the many and varied security agencies fail to communicate with one another - to their own and our potential detriment. It's refreshing, too, to see those agencies depicted not as frighteningly omnipotent - with all manner of satellite technology in constant motion - but subject to gumshoe limitations. The film also does a fine job of constructing a rounded, sympathetic Muslim character - played by Don Cheadle - who, as the coda underlines, is quietly uncompromising about the simple practice of his faith, a kind of freedom often apparently forgotten in overheated US debates. There's considerable subtlety in the film's visual approach, too; instead of the constant shaky cam of the Bourne movies or The Kingdom, director Jeffrey Nachmanoff employs a handheld viewpoint when his story demands a sense of urgency, before transitioning to a calmer shooting style elsewhere.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States