The Kingdom (2007)

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller
Universal || R - 110 minutes - $29.98 || December 26, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2008-01-02


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Peter Berg
Writer(s): Matthew Michael Carnahan (written by)
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Jeremy Piven, Richard Jenkins, Tim McGraw, Danny Huston


Theatrical Release Date: September 28, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Character by Character: The Apartment Shootout
  • Constructing the Freeway Sequence
  • History of The Kingdom: An Interactive Timeline
  • Constructing The Kingdom


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

It's amazing to see that Peter Berg has gone from acting in films such as Corky Romano, Going Overboard and Aspen Extreme to now directing quality films such as Friday Night Lights, The Rundown (which I think is an underrated action film) to now The Kingdom. Without a doubt, The Kingdom is Berg's most mature and engaging film to date. The Kingdom tells the story of F.B.I. agents who must go to Saudi Arabia to investigate the bombing of an American facility by terrorists. Many have said that the film works like a "C.S.I.: Saudi Arabia" and that is true to some extent but I do think the film says quite a lot about the situation in the Middle East at the moment.

The film has a very good and diverse cast with Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven and Danny Houston. Each of these actors brings their own style to film which makes for some great ensemble acting. Also starring are two Palestinian actors: Ali Suliman and Ashraf Barhom. Suliman has a smaller part but Barhom really steals the film as Colonel Faris Al Ghazi. Both these actors actually were in a great film called Paradise Now that not many people have seen. I highly recommend this film as it was easily one of the top 10 films of 2005. Though Barhom has never acted in an English speaking role, he does a remarkable job in creating a dynamic between the Arab side and the American side. Barhom brings dignity and strength to the character of Faris. In most films about the Middle East, most of the Arab actors are one note fundamentalists who just want to kill. I have to give kudos to Peter Berg for wanting to show a different side than has been seen thus far.

The Kingdom is filmed in about 95% handheld (which Berg loves to use) and that gives a nice documentary feel to the film. The action sequences along with the scenes involving the terrorist attacks are shown quickly to simulate the impact that one would feel if they were in that location. Obviously the situation is much greater than the United States vs. Saudi Arabia but it is somewhat encouraging to see that studios are trying to make films with much more depth rather than treating either side with too many stereotypes. Though the film still follows many conventions in terms of its portrayals of Arabs in films, I still think the film is a nice step towards showing the complexity of the situation in the Middle East.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The film has 3 deleted scenes that run about 11 minutes total. Many of the scenes are extended but it was nice to see that the deleted scenes were actually "scenes" and not 45 second or 1 minute cuts the director decided to take out.

Character By Character: The Apartment Shootout is an interesting 14 minute look at the final shootout but from 4 different P.O.V.'s. It is essentially the same scene but we are taken through it by different characters each time. It is nothing more than the director using 4 cameras and editing the scenes together but us still a nice extra to watch if you're interested in editing or filmmaking in general.

Constructing The Freeway Sequence is an in depth 18 minute featurette that deconstructs the process the filmmakers took to film the 3 or 4 minute sequence. Though the sequence only lasts a few minutes, it is amazing to see the detail and preparation needed in creating the scene. We also get to see how much the stuntmen are truly underappreciated in terms of risking their lives for a particular scene.

History of The Kingdom: An Interactive Timeline is an interesting extra that shows the progression of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The timeline highlights key events over the 80 year period. It is essentially a detailed look at the film's opening sequence which also attempts to give the audience a "Cliff Notes" version of Saudi Arabia's modern history.

Constructing The Kingdom is an 8 part documentary that runs about 35 minutes. Various topics such as how Arizona doubled for Saudi Arabia, set design and the background of the film are thoroughly covered in this extra.

Finally, the film has a commentary by director Peter Berg. It is a fairly standard commentary. Berg informs us many times about the cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and the United States as well as many of the filming techniques used. Berg has several moments where he is silent for up to 3 or 4 minutes but when he does speak, he does discuss interesting aspects of the filmmaking process.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Universal did a fine job with both the video and audio transfer. Both are as good as one would expect for a big budget Hollywood film. The film's audio specs are Dolby Digital 5.1 with options for the same track in Spanish and French. The action scenes as well Danny Elfman's underrated score all come off very well. The film is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and the dark colors all come off very strongly throughout the course of the film.



.::OVERALL::.

The Kingdom is definitely one of the better put together packages that Universal has put out recently. The DVD covers a wide range of topics in terms of the filmmaking process and the history of the complex situation in the Middle East. As mentioned earlier, I have to give credit to Peter Berg for at least trying to display both sides of the argument as much as possible. The Kingdom is a very engaging, intense, well directed and acted look at the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.