Review: The Kingdom

Zack Rosenblatt (’09)/ For Eastside

the kingdomWhether or not terrorism should be treated as a civil matter opposed to a military one is a key question at the center of the Iraq war debate. The issue is clearly raised throughout the Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, the Rundown) directed thriller “The Kingdom.” Despite the controversial topic, Kingdom delivers as Berg’s best project yet.

To movie begins with a terrorist attack on a U.S. facility populated by Americans in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After so many are killed in this heartless attack, an elite FBI team, led by FBI special agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx), is assembled. Fleury Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper), Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner), and Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman) negotiate a secret five day excursion into Saudi Arabia to find out the culprits behind the bombing.

The locales struggle to cooperate with the Americans, as they felt it was a local matter and the Americans were impeding their investigation. Despite the fact his people despise the Americans, Saudi Colonel Faris Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhoum) is determined to help Fleury & company find out who committed the horrid act of terrorism.

The last 30 minutes keep you on the edge of your seats, producing the most exciting action packed sequence you will ever see. It’s realism is what makes the “Kingdom” rise above all other action movies in 2007.

Touching on a topic such as terrorism inevitably leads to the question of whether or not this is an opinionated/statement film. Exploring the horrors of terror is something most people would be afraid to do. “Kingdom” touches on what life is like for Saudi Arabians, and how America can attempt to cooperate in order to make things right.

With sequels, remakes and comic/novel adaptations seemingly taking over the movie industry, “The Kingdom” gives a much needed boost to a mediocre batch of movies to end off the 2007 year.

The riveting performance of Ashraf Barhoum should give him a shot at an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. With Jamie Foxx splendidly leading the star-studded cast, this movie is bound to garner some attention for Best Picture.

Even if its politics is confusing, “Kingdom” makes us think about the Middle East in a different way from the evening news. It is a must-see and is worth every penny, as it is a non-stop heart-wrenching adventure from the beginning to the end.