Traitor (2008) - Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Thriller
Anchor Bay || PG13 - 114 minutes - $39.98 || December 16, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

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

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Writer(s): Steve Martin and Jeffrey Nachmanoff (story), Jeffrey Nachmanoff (screenplay)
Cast:


Theatrical Release Date: August 27, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • BD-Live
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Traitor is an intriguing global political thriller starring Don Cheadle as Samir Horn, an ex-Special Ops soldier who is suspected of falling in with Muslim terrorists while serving in Pakistan in the late 80s. Present day, he’s caught during a raid in Yemen and rather than making a deal with FBI Agents Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough), he chooses to serve in the Yemen prison. It is there he is befriended by Omar (Said Taghmaoui) who, we discover, is part of a terrorist organization with plans to strike America.

Omar and Samir escape prison and work together to put the organization’s plans into motion while on the American front, Clayton and Archer try to figure out Samir’s movements and uncover the possible attack. Of course, there is a twist: Samir isn’t a terrorist and is in fact deep undercover working under his handler, Carter (Jeff Daniels). Samir is in fact a practicing Muslim but shuns the extremists’ practices but still sacrifices to save lives. The global chase goes from Yemen, Nice, London, Toronto and Chicago as the attack grows imminent.

A fascinating movie, Traitor isn’t just a regular spy-thriller along the lines of the Bourne movies, no matter who much the trailers try to make it out to be, but in fact is also a lesson on religion, extremism and service. The main character of Samir is conflicted from all sides. As a Muslim and detests the extremists beliefs of a war against the West yet at the same time he also doesn’t like how the West approaches their own “War on Terror” but targeting a certain profile.

Samir also must make difficult decisions to become accepted in the terrorist organization, betraying his beliefs and putting innocent lives in jeopardy. Not only that, but when the FBI reveals to the media that Samir is a threat, the only man who knows the true agenda, Carter, has his own one-sided objective.

Traitor is a solid, well paced thriller but at the same time, it’s a little uneven. Although Don Cheadle is in top form as he is in most of his movies (Ocean’s 11 and that awful accent withstanding), the story kind of falls off near the end. Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who wrote the equally intrusive Day After Tomorrow, takes the film into a routine finale that is neither tense nor satisfying. Also, there seems to be an identity crisis with the story by Nachmanoff and Steve Martin (yes, THAT Steve Martin). Is it another spy-thriller a la The Bourne Identity or a topical drama like Hotel Rwanda? No. Traitor seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle. Note: There is also a smidgen of The Departed in there as well...

This is a good movie but not one that’s very memorable whether it’s the performances of the supporting cast or Nachmanoff’s direction. I like Guy Pearce, he’s a fantastic actor who stormed onto the scene in Christopher Nolan’s Memento, yet he fails to make much of an impression. I’m not sure if it’s Pearce’s fault or the lack of a well-written character in the screenplay, but when you think of a Fed chasing his suspect, Pearce doesn’t hold a candle to Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) or even Chris Cooper (Bourne Identity). No doubt, he is a capable actor, but he’s uninspiring in this role.

Where Guy Pearce is uninspiring, the underrated Jeff Daniels is vastly underutilized. He’s only in the film for a few minutes, however I wish the relationship between Carter and Samir were examined further.

While Pearce and Daniels weren’t utilized to their fullest talents, I was impressed with some of the supporting cast, especially Said Taghmaoui. The role wasn’t well fleshed out but Taghmaoui makes the most of it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary – Producer/Star Don Cheadle and Co-writer/Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff provide an informative commentary, mostly about the behind-the-scenes stuff concerning shooting locations, set designs and the story.

There are two featurettes (9:53), “Action!” and “International Espionage” are short, fluffy featurettes that don’t delve too much into the making of the movie or anything else behind-the-scenes. You can watch them individually or use the “Play All” option to see them together.

BD-Live only includes trailers for other Anchor Bay titles with nothing else related to Traitor included. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Finally, there is a second disc containing the digital copy (** Blu-ray Exclusives **) and the theatrical trailer (2:11).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Traitor comes to Blu-ray in 1080p high-def (MPEG-4 AVC codec) and its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. I actually found the video quality on this release to be good, but not very impressive. It’s nothing against the transfer itself because I assume it looked this way in theaters, but this is a fairly grainy movie, and not just in a scene or two. But, when it wasn’t grainy, I did find the picture to be pretty good with nice (subdued) colors and a sharp image void of noticeable edge enhancement or any signs of dust, scratches and other imperfections.

Anchor Bay gives the movie a decent Dolby TrueHD track, but like the picture, it isn’t anything outstanding. Dialogue comes through clear from the center channel and I did notice that even my rear speakers were used, but the explosions didn’t have much oomph.



.::OVERALL::.

Don Cheadle and an intriguing plot make Traitor a worthwhile venture. The story itself could’ve been better and the talents of Guy Pearce and Jeff Daniels used more appropriately, but the movie does a good job of giving both sides of the issues without playing the “shame on you” game so combined with Cheadle’s performance, I give this a lukewarm recommendation.