It is hard to point out exactly what makes Traitor only a mediocre film, it is hard to specifically say what went it did wrong. But it’s even harder to say what it did right. One could assume from looking at the cast, that this would showcase some pretty good performances as it includes; Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels and Neal McDonough. The sad truth is, not one of them really put on their best outing here.
Traitor is about an American citizen named Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) who is a former soldier living in Middle East. He is a believer in the Holy Quran and sells bomb detonators to Islamic radicals. Horn escapes from a Yemeni prison with a new found friend and they lay low for a while in France. They both get sent back to the United States where they plan to bomb in multiple Greyhound buses. With the U.S. authorities on their trail, they try to carry out the bombing before getting caught.
I am normally positively biased towards Don Cheadle in most of his films but this just seemed to lack emotion. Something that is out of the norm for him. It was as if he was trying too hard not to try hard. Guy Pearce’s character wasn’t memorable either. He didn’t quite sell the change of heart part his character went through.
While it lacks in acting performances, it does provide some interesting looks into religion and terrorism, which the latter is completely relevant to current events. It dips into the subject of sacrifice very well by having the main character playing chess with the loss of pawns equating to the death of human beings for a greater benefit of all. “You know that the Qu’ran says that if you kill an innocent person it’s as if you’ve killed all mankind?” says the main character, “It also says that if you save a life it’s like you’ve saved all mankind.”
Some may really enjoy this spy thriller movie about the motivations behind terrorism, it just didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat. I could only recommend it as a watch only once movie, if you have nothing else to watch.