The FBI, a bunch of Saudi terrorists and Ray Charles. Mix them together and what do you have?
This movie was always going to get attention due to it’s plot and all star line up, but the question on everyone lips is: was it any good?
The short answer is, yes.
Somehow this film manages to mix blockbuster, gun totting action with hard line, pragmatist politics. It was this year’s surprise screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival and received an array of mixed reviews.
The story is fictional and based loosely on the Riyadh compound Bombings of 2003. It follows a forensic FBI team sent to investigate the suicide bombing of an American compound in Saudi Arabia. Agent Fleury (Jamie Foxx) leads the crack FBI team which comprises of Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner), Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper) and Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman).
The investigation is halted by bureaucracy and their presence as Americans federal agents on Saudi soil is viewed, at best, as unwelcome and the team soon find themselves as the next targets of the terrorists.
We’re given a very good overview at the start of the movie about the history between Saudi Arabia and the USA. This helps set up the mood and general premise for the rest of the film.
It’s a serious movie, no doubt about it. This is one of the most genuine thrillers you will see all year, but as good as this may be for the subject matter the movie is very slow at the beginning and doesn’t pick up until after the first hour.
Thankfully though there is a strong cast here to help carry it. Foxx does well in his leading role, showing a serious side that hasn’t been seen in his other portrayals. Also to note is Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and the strong direction by Peter Berg.