Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Peter Krause
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Angry and depressed over losing his job, accountant Terry Allen (Peter Krause) begins to suspect his new, Middle Eastern neighbor is at the center of a terrorist conspiracy. Terry becomes obsessed about revealing the man's... more »
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Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA
Reviewed on 2/29/2012...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
The perils of too much time at home
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 03/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After three separate copies of CIVIC DUTY received from a well known Web-based DVD rental service, each of which skipped or stopped playing altogether, I finally purchased (at a discount) an original disc, which worked just swell. I'd only ever gotten as far as twenty-five minutes into the flick and I was hooked.
Here, Peter Krause (Nate Fisher in Six Feet Under - The Complete Series Gift Set) plays Terry Allen, a just-fired CPA married to Marla (Kari Matchett). The couple lives on the second floor of a courtyard apartment building, and Terry's loss of his job now endangers the loan they'd hoped to acquire for a new house. Terry needs a new job ASAP; the pressure is on.
Like most Americans, Terry is bombarded with daily news stories regarding the Arab jihadists' threat to the United States. Then, one day, he notices that a young, Middle Eastern-looking, single man has moved in downstairs across the courtyard. The new tenant, Gabe Hassan (Khaled Abol Naga), almost immediately demonstrates what to Allen is suspicious activity, like rummaging through the building's trash dumpster in the wee morning hours and receiving mail from a mysterious "Brotherhood". Instead of sending out resumes, Terry begins to follow Hassan around. This obsession based on no concrete evidence enrages Marla, especially as hubby's failure to find a new job puts the kibosh on the house loan. In any case, Terry becomes alarmed enough to approach the FBI, personified by Agent Tom Hilary (Richard Schiff). But the Feds fail to investigate as fast or as decisively as Allen thinks necessary, so the latter, still unemployed and with a crumbling marriage, takes matters into his own hands with disastrous consequences.
What will perhaps draw the viewer in, besides the obvious sinister threat that Terry perceives may exist, is the character of Allen himself, which, as played by Krause, who's got the All-American guileless, good looks that anyone could ask for, is that of your average, hard working, well-meaning, tax-paying citizen. It could be you or I. Plus, he's just been laid off and is having problems with the bank, spouse and an unhelpful government bureaucrat, which could also be you or I. We want Allen's suspicions to be valid, but begin to wonder about his sanity as he approaches, then goes over, the edge. That couldn't be you or I, could it? The moral of the story is perhaps not so much the need to keep vigilant in the face of faceless terrorism but rather the dangers of having too much time on one's hands paired with an active imagination. But then again, as Terry tells Marla, being paranoid doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong.
By the time the film rolled into its closing frames, I'd already mentally improved the script to deliver more of a "gotcha" ending. Mind you, the conclusion as it stands is good enough to rate four stars, but not more.
I've begun surreptitiously watching our neighbors' windows with binoculars for some indication that they're as dangerous as I think they are. One in particular, a seller of antiquarian books, I suspect of altering the punctuation in his wares."