New on DVD: Traitor

New on DVD: Traitor

Depicting terrorism in film is sensitive territory, especially when mostly presenting the view of the terrorists and not simply classifying them as evil. Samir (Don Cheadle) is an arms dealer who is inadvertently arrested during a raid on suspected terrorists. While in prison, he befriends Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui), the leader of a cell, and is […]


Depicting terrorism in film is sensitive territory, especially when mostly presenting the view of the terrorists and not simply classifying them as evil.

Samir (Don Cheadle) is an arms dealer who is inadvertently arrested during a raid on suspected terrorists. While in prison, he befriends Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui), the leader of a cell, and is invited along when the group escapes. Samir is welcomed into the fold as they utilize his bomb expertise, although his opposition to martyrdom and the general loss of human life is in contrast to the terrorists’ methods. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Clayton (Guy Pearce) is tracking Samir in hopes of using him to capture a high-level terrorist leader.

This is not your typical terrorism story of good versus evil. The organizational leaders have varying personalities while those selected to carry out orders appear to be average Americans – not the expected overzealous fanatics. Cheadle’s character is even more complex as he struggles to reconcile his Muslim beliefs with his own actions and the interpretations of his brothers. This also complicates Samir’s friendship with Omar. On the other hand, Pearce is the anti-Jack Bower; his approach is understanding and knowledge, not physicality like his partner.

The film is a suspenseful combination of action and espionage. There are numerous explosions, the last being the most narratively satisfying. Samir’s loyalties are constantly in question and the government’s efficiency is a debatable when paralleled with that of the terrorists’.

The DVD includes two five-minute featurettes: one focuses on the action, dissecting explosions; the other briefly explores the various locations of shooting, which includes Toronto.