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The Kingdom
6 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Peter Berg

Written By:
Matthew Michael Carnahan

Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Chris Cooper, Jeremy Piven, Brooke Langton, Frances Fisher, Kyle Chandler, Tom Bresnahan, Richard Jenkins, Trevor St. John, Ali Suliman, Christina Leigh, Brian Mahoney, Stephen Bishop, Aaron Michael Lacey, Nito Larioza, Schuster Vance, Kevin Brief, Anthony Burch, Merik Tadros, Minka Kelly, Amy Hunter, Bob Huff, Raad Rawi, Anthony Martins, Brian Mulligan, Kelly AuCoin, Ronald Axell, Louie Palmieri, Yasmine Hanani, Andrew Astor, Hrach Titizian, Anthony Casanova, Marcus Jordan, Ahmed Al-Ibrahim, Tj Burnett, Taylor Hogue, Hope Fogle, Sam Georges Sad, Jimmy Flowers, Elie Khoury, Andrew Hogue, Merek Browne, Lanny Rethaber, Anthony Batarse, Michael Clossin, Jett Alexander, Daniel Barrios, Brody M. Tardy, Molly Gum, Amir Mahmoud, Saleem Hassan Erakat, Damien Weimer, Andrew Stirling, Louie Vergara, Ravi Devineni, Michael LeDesma, Ryan Weaver, Roderick LeDesma, Byron Browne, Donyell Hinton, Stephanie Love, Ashraf Barhom, Kavita Parbhakar, Rami Najjar, Aspen Ott, Ara Boghosian

The Kingdom (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
October 5th, 2007

'The Kingdom', to me, seems xenophobic, exploiting the fears and worries Americans have about so-called Islamofacists, those crazy Muslims who are always plotting to kill us. The film opens with a horrendous act of terrorism against Americans at a nice little compound in Saudi Arabia, during a softball game, with families gathered happily together, enjoying themselves. The attack prompts an investigation led by FBI agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) and his colleagues Janet Mayes (Garner), no-nonsense explosives expert Grant Sykes (Cooper) and wisecracking computer whiz Adam Leavitt (Bateman).

They have five days to find evidence and track down those responsible, and they find that the local authorities are less than cooperative, with the exception of Colonel Al-Ghazi (Ashaf Barhom), who is still not exactly trustful of these foreigners. 'The Kingdom' is part police procedural, part political thriller, and part action movie, particularly in its later moments, and it is consistently engaging and exciting, despite bland performances (Foxx and Cooper are especially disappointing), though Garner and Bateman always remain interesting, and Bateman is useful for breaking up the intensity with humor, though he is far from Arrested Development. Garner's character is significant because she is a woman in a land where the roles of women are very different than they are in the West, and many Saudis are resentful of a woman in a position of leadership or influence, on equal footing with men. Janet has to contend with this, along with the pressures and stress of her already demanding and dangerous job. The opening sequence is riveting, conveying a sense of genuine reality, as if we are watching actual footage of a terrorist attack taking place.

'The Kingdom' touches on some relevant issues and offers distinct, logical parallels to current U.S. involvement in the Middle East. The U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia is one of the reasons Bin Laden gave as to why 9/11 happened. The U.S. supports the corrupt and oppressive Saudi royal family because of oil, and Saudi Arabia has immunity because of Mecca, the Islamic holy city, which could never be compromised or threatened without angering hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, even those moderate Muslims who may reject the extreme rhetoric of Bin Laden and hi Al-Qaeda network. A rather brief history of the region (and its relations with the United States) has been included in the film, as well, which helps to put things into perspective. Overall, 'The Kingdom' is well-made, stylish, slick, and entertaining, even though it doesn't offer anything extremely original. If you are expecting a pure action flick from start to finish, you will be sorely disappointed. It gets there eventually, but doesn't plunge right in at the beginning.

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