Traitor (2008)

Posted: July 12, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , ,


DVD: Traitor

Blu-ray: Traitor

Traitor plays with fire, and ends up a little wet.

It’s hard to tell what’s guiding this thing along.

Is it the “reality” that the filmmakers believe they are throwing up on the screen?

Is it the need to present an alleged “even handed” treatment of America’s foreign policy and wars?

Is it the need to have some stuff blow up, in Hollywood formulaic fashion?

When the word “action” is tossed around, I worry. This was true with War Inc. just as much as with Traitor, and a number of other supposedly “political” films concerning what’s supposedly happening today in the Middle East.

I certainly don’t trust Hollywood and the people who green light these things to present an honest, unbiased picture of anything, particularly a highly charged issue like terrorism. Their track record has been abysmal.

I was oddly surprised that Don Cheadle’s character has some likeness to a real life “Al Qaeda” operative by the name of Ali Mohamad. This person was the subject of a book called “Triple Cross,” which I highly doubt tells the whole story, based on further research.

Another little, tiny plot device in the film resembles what FBI translator Sibel Edmonds claimed about a leak in the translation section of the FBI.

These tenuous connections to real life are problematic in the extreme, however, because – voila – the Hollywood spin machine twists them around 180 degrees.

The problem with Ali Mohamad was that he was a bad guy, working for the CIA and apparently the FBI as a bad guy. He wasn’t a good guy, and yet they still had him blowing up shit, like US embassies in Africa!

The problem with Sibel Edmond’s case about pointing out a leak in the FBI translation unit was not the leak itself, but that Sibel was fired and persecuted, instead of the leaker! The leak was protected, while an honest, upstanding citizen was harassed, threatened, gagged and left jobless for doing the right thing. She was also ignored by the 9/11 Commission, and has gone quite public with their failure to look into her allegations.

Add to these examples Pearce’s FBI agent’s line about “the fine print of the PATRIOT ACT,” which we are to take for granted is a force for good, and for fighting the evil terrorists who are – right on screen – lurking everywhere! In fact the “PATRIOT ACT” is a blatant assault on the first and fourth amendments of the US Constitution, the law which supersedes any nonsense the Congress can churn out, short of a new Constitutional amendment. Many parts of this unlawful Act are unconstitutional, something the film neglects to even hint at.

The terrorists-are-everywhere plot is straight, official, hysteria mongering. This is the weakest part of the film, but it of course sells quite nicely to the ignorant.

In the movies, America is always the good guy, and the US government may be a little misguided, but always on the right side.

Not so in reality. The US government supports several “terrorist” networks even today, as well as numerous “dictators” around the world who torture and kill their people. It has yet to demonstrate that it is actually against terrorism as a tactic. The US has partnered with regimes that support “terror” including, but not limited to, the Saudi royal family and the Pakistani intelligence. Pieces of this puzzle appear in newspapers regularly, including the Washington Post, the New Yorker Magazine and the New York Times, but nothing is ever done about it.

Guy Pearce’s boy scout FBI guy is a bit too Pollyanna. His function is to send a blunt, over the head, obvious message that there’s both good Muslims and bad Muslims. Oooh. That’s hard hitting and cutting edge!

The film never gets beyond the sound bite, the cursory exploration of the topics it purports to sink its teeth into.

Traitor might make certain (gullible) “liberal” audiences feel like they got their bellies rubbed. I don’t know what sick insanity goes on inside self-proclaimed “conservatives” these days. But, I don’t adhere to either of those failed, miserable ideologies that champion corrupt liars and imperial war criminals who kill and subvert democracy around the world with impunity. Not for me.

I find the film Traitor falls quite short of the truth. Therefore, it’s more mindless “entertainment” that pretends to say something about the world, but the people behind it lack either the knowledge or the will to execute it properly. Yawn.

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