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Best Tom Clancy Movie He Never Wrote: Traitor

Published September 5, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Overture Films
Traitor PosterTraitor
Traitor is the best Tom Clancy movie he never wrote. It's an espionage thriller set in the world of modern terrorism, based on tactics and objectives, only it's a lot easier to follow than the Jack Ryan movies.

Traitor Review

Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is an explosives expert who hooks up with a terror group plotting an attack on America. Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) is an American agent on his trail. Their journey parallel as they get closer and closer to each other, and we learn more about the terrorist world.

Even without the political undertones (are they even under?), it's an exciting movie. Samir is a badass. He knows his sh*t and he takes on the big terrorists in prison. The action is all based in the real world, but the stakes are high.

It's all peppered with philosophy though. Even before it gets into the terrorist operations, each side makes simple analogies. The example of Americans being terrorists to the British back in the 1700s is important, and the parallels between extreme Islam and the KKK's interpretation of Christianity are well taken too.

Then the terrorists start explaining their plans. The scariest thing is how practical they are. You go inside how suicide bombers are equipped and how sleeper cells are contacted. That's an interesting perspective. Hopefully that means that the good guys know a lot more secrets that they're keeping to themselves so they can actually catch the bad guys. Yeah, I'll go with that.

This is as inside a terrorist's head as we'll get. Any more would be pretentious and smug. We see how they respond to victories and disappointments. The film seems careful not to make them overly sympathetic. That would become a movie cliché, the misguided antihero.

The film features a few familiar genre beats, but it is a genre movie. The climactic surprise is pretty sweet and satisfying. For a movie predicated on important social themes, Traitor never neglects the entertainment.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Overture Films

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