KILL THEM ALL
Jason | Backwater, Alabama | 08/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the purposefully ambiguous "kill them all" message inserted into the script (more on that later), The Kingdom comes across as a very realistic action movie with delicate political and religious overtones. Without extreme jingoism or political preaching, a picture of the Saudi Arabian kingdom - a possible metaphor for the Iraq war or Islam - is painted in which a culture clash between American FBI agents and oppositional Saudi officials is juxtaposed so that a common bond can be emotionally unearthed beneath the bloody rubble of a terrorist attack.
In a post-9/11 environment - a world that has since discovered the majority of the hijackers' were Saudi - the once strong bond between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has weakened under tension. After a brutal terrorist attack on ARAMCO civilians playing softball, several FBI agents - Ronald Fleurry (Foxx), Grant Sykes (Cooper), Janet Mayes (Garner), Adam Leavitt (Bateman) - are sent to the Middle East to cooperate with initially resistant local officials and find the responsible party in a small five-day window. While clue hunting, respect between the various investigators is forged, as societal differences are overcome and eventually eschewed because of common bonds, similar foes, and shared emotions - particularly between FBI team lead Fleurry and Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Barhom).
From top to bottom this movie exudes realism. The location is authentic; the debris smolders; the locals look confused, terrified, and angry. The direction is crisp, keeping the viewer on the edge of the seat as soon as it is revealed the hunt is on for a terrorist explosives expert. Action for the entire second half of the movie. And the ending? Woo, the ending is crazy. A frenzy of gun-play with automatic fire ringing ears, the wet thwop of bodies receiving lead injections, and speaker-rumbling bass accompanying every bomb or RPG.
The script by Matthew Michael Carnahan is borderline genius. How representatives of two foreign governments can come together so quickly, to bond so thoroughly, to display such shared emotion, all while suffering through nearly unspeakable blood and violence, and not feel forced or rushed, is incredibly complimentary for the script and actors who made the situations and relationships so believable. While somewhat unbelievable at times, its flawless execution makes otherwise noticeable gaffs (Jennifer Garner's outfits in Saudi Arabia would have been frowned upon) disappear.
I believe the phrase "Kill them all" spoken by the terrorist at the end is what he sees as proactive guidance in reference to his enemies, to kill them simply for who they are. Conversely, I believe the phrase, when spoken by Jamie Foxx's character, is meant as a vow of revenge in the name of justice, to kill those who have already committed murders and atrocities. In my view, the two are unequal, and serve as the primary reason for the tensions and dangers that currently exist.
An Action Film with Insight
David | Houston, Texas, USA | 05/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an out and out action film; my wife walked out after the first few minutes and didn't come back. I'll agree that it is violent but in the situations this film addresses, violence can and should be expected.
The film provides some interesting insights into life in the Middle East; although I've never been there, news reports and video clips over the past several years seem to confirm the use of violence as a negotiating tool. Life in the Middle East, and especially in Saudi Arabia, reflects a worldview that is diametrically opposed to Western thought.
The film is fast paced and moves toward an ending that even increases the pace of the action. As the film closes one is left with statements from both sides that indicate the struggle will continue; it is not just the individuals that are in opposition, but two opposing worldviews.
Historians who address this struggle are quick to point out the fact that the battle has been going on for centuries with greater or lesser intensity. It appears that the level of intensity has been increasing again for several years now.
The confrontations described in "The Kingdom" will not be going away any time soon, sadly to say."