starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pierce, Neal McDonough, Saïd Taghmaoui and Jeff Daniels
screenplay and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff
This seems like a complicated story, although I can make it short. Don Cheadle, an actor I really like, plays a devout Muslim American army veteran and deep undercover double agent, haunting the world of Middle East Islamic extremism. He is so deep and so undercover that only one person in Washingtonknows he is really an American operative. Other intelligence agencies are convinced he is a terrorist and track his movements religiously. Then, when his controller is killed he appears to be trapped in his cover role. He’s so deep it appears like he has ‘gone native,’ like Lieutenant Dunbar (Kevin Costner) in Dances With Wolves (1990), or Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in Avatar (2009).
Cheadle’s character, Samir Horn, might be a little hard to comprehend because it rubs against the stereotype. He is a devout Muslim, but also a patriotic American. He is committed to his religion, brimming with devotion to Allah as well as compassion for his fellow man. Fitting in, or at least appearing to fit in with extremists tortures his soul because he has to convincingly appear to believe and do everything that he personally rejects totally.
There is a lot of spoken Arabic in the film, which is kind of nice to hear. And, there are many excellent Arab actors.
I recognized Neal McDonough from his work in the HBO Band of Brother series. I don’t see him a lot, but he does pop up from time to time. I greatly resented it when his character, an FBI agent, traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia hunting suspected terrorists and complained about it being “the asshole of Canada.” Halifax is a major urban center, very historic and beautiful, plus it’s a major port, all of which make it an important city.