The Kingdom -- Staring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper
Sep 15, 2007 (Updated Sep 16, 2007)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Great cast, extremely intense at times, not preachy, realism of camera views/use
Cons:not the best character development
The Bottom Line: An intense and engaging film, this is one that shouldn't be missed, and really makes you stop and think about issues in the Middle East.
The Kingdom is the type of film that make you think during and after the viewing. At its heart are many issues about the Middle East, and truly is a film that can hit home right now. The film starts with a view through the eye of terrorists, as they put a plan into action to attack an American compound in the center of Saudi Arabia. This compound is basically a community of Americans, most related to or part of Oil Company families that work in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Inside the walls Americans are allowed to live as they please, and at this moment a softball game is being played. You zoom out from the binoculars of the terrorist to see the walls being guarded by Saudi Arabian soldiers when suddenly chaos starts breaking out as the attack begins. The attack leaves many Americans and Saudi Arabian soldiers dead and wounded; including the friend of FBI agents that will come into play later.
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Back in the United States, an anti-terrorism team has learned of the events, and immediately wants to go investigate. Unfortunately, it is a rare opportunity for Americans to participate in that type of investigation in Saudi Arabia, due to how the leaders feel it would look to get help from the U.S. Fighting through red tape, and ultimately using any channel of help he can find, Ronald Fluery (Jamie Foxx) finally gets it approved for himself and three other agents to head to the site for a first-hand investigation. Now the four of them are set to go into an unfriendly situation, where the country of Saudi Arabia wants to save face by solving everything on their own, but seemingly not having quite the same talents as these Americans to get to the bottom of the situation. Now in an environment unlike anything they have dealt with before, these 4 Americans must work to solve the tragedy before the terrorists can strike again.
Jamie Foxx is the primary star of the film, as the lead agent who wants to avenge the death of his friend while finding the mastermind behind the killings. Working with him are characters played by Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper. Garner is right in her element, showing off a lot of the moves that made her famous in her show Alias, and Cooper is great as the stoic knowledge base of the group, doing everything by the book. Bateman is there for his sense of humor, often bringing a lighter side to some very serious moments of the film, and providing a few moments where even the hosts are laughing at what he has to say. Together they form the perfect quartet of investigators, and they all put out great performances in the face of all that adversity that they face in Saudi Arabia. At times, the scenes are stolen by their Saudi escort, and he really brings a nice touch of emotion in many difficult situations.
I went into The Kingdom thinking that this could be a film that would be very thrilling, and from that view-point it did not disappoint. The last half hour or so of this film was so intense that I found myself on the edge of my seat (seriously) wondering what was going to happen next, and if certain events were going to transpire. I also really enjoyed that during the opening credits, the film took the time to explain the history of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia through a 70-80 year timeline that explained all of the main events between the two nations. It helped to remind me of a number of things, and further expounded upon why so many Americans are in Saudi Arabia in the first place. You can also set aside fears that this film is going to be "preachy", because it presents a story with a lot of violence and views on terrorism, but doesn't tell you what to think or how to react when presented with those plot devices. The film was very well done in my opinion, with the only thing lacking is in-depth character development of those 4 people going into Saudi Arabia. I can understand that the focus was not supposed to be only on these characters, but I would have liked to know more about them. Setting that aside, this is a film that I would watch again to see if it had the same effect on me the second time through, but for now I find The Kingdom to be a well crafted film that is well worth seeing in theaters.
*Film seen during a special presentation sneak preview.*
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