Traitor (2008)

(In theaters, September 2008) It’s too bad that two films seem to compete for attention here. First, a contemporary thriller that jumps from continent to continent, looking on as a dastardly terrorist plot is put together and detected by intelligence agencies. Second, a more intimate drama in which a double-agent confronts his conscience and the respect of his peers as he infiltrates a terrorist group on behalf of American interests. The first movie crackles when it gets moving; the second one is annoying even in the best of circumstances. Fortunately, Don Cheadle is always excellent as the man torn between his various loyalties. It’s just too bad that the entire film couldn’t have been as good as its best sections. (Plus, am I the only one who wasn’t entirely satisfied by the way the terrorist plot thread was wrapped?) What could have been a decent companion piece to Syriana only ends up an inconsistently interesting attempt with a side-order of yawns. Its intentions are at the right place, but the final result just isn’t all that compelling.

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