Friday, September 28, 2007

Opening Night: The Kingdom

Tonight, my cousin and I went to see The Kingdom, despite its 1 star review in the Gazette and its 49% rating on I had been wanting to see this movie since I found out it existed. At first, it was only because of Jennifer Garner. Then, I discovered the plot and figured it might be interesting.

And it was! It was not too pro-American, although most of the action was from their point of view. It was not pro-Arab either, but a good balance of the two. In other words, it showed parts from both sides of the story. From military (and other) culture to the facts of life to the response and way of dealing with violence... This movie really delved into the essence of the message and raw emotion that each side is working with. This is not a documentary. It was not a deep dive. But it was an accurate (as far as I know) pictorial of what would happen in that sort of situation.

The score was awesome. Heart wrenching at time, which just enough drama to set the mood without being cheesy. I usually sit through the credits, but this time, the music kept me in my seat.

The comic relief was great. The boobies were, of course, great. And I really loved the character of Al Ghazi. Not only was it well developed, he was sympathetic and served as an intermediary to both sides, progressively becomes more helpful as he learned that the Americans weren't that bad, and that they really did want to help.

The last scenes cemented the deal for me. It turned a good action flick with a political background to a great movie that makes you think. The final sentence makes you wonder what the reaction would be if Fleury said what he did at THAT point. There was definitely some despair and maybe even disbelief in the eyes of Leavitt.

And as for the spoiler (that's right, I'm not telling!), it just makes you wonder not only what the motivation is for that sentiment, but if we are closer than we think... That, and the fact that Fleury and Al Ghazi got so close... Al Ghazi made the Americans realize that Arabs weren't all bad either... And the understanding between both characters, especially Fleury's visit at the end, brings hope for the future, even if it's just a movie.

It would be great if everyone could get along so well.

Of course, the movie had its share of gore, blood, guts and violence. Oh, and sweat too. Definitely not a flick for the squeamish. It also leaves us wondering how human beings can harm other humans in such gross fashion. How is it even possible? And I'm glad that the extremist view was not portrayed as the predominant view, but rather as an internal problem as well. No sane person, religious or otherwise, would blow him or herself up. Let alone take children and other innocents along. And saying it's in God's name, to me, is just a disgrace. And THAT has nothing to do with religion... or with The Kingdom for that matter.

I think this movie will do really well, especially in Canada. US viewers might have a bit of a harder time with some concepts or come out with a message and/or impression that is different than what I believe the directors,writers and producers had intended.

Overall, I give it 3.5 to 4 stars, or 89%. I recommend it to anyone who is over 13 (gotcha!), interested in some action, some politics, some history, and a lot of post-film thinking.

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