Friday, October 05, 2007


Well, I've seen lots of movies with my mom but just haven't felt like posting a review, and I see others haven't also. I guess I won't delete the blog for now, because maybe it will be active again. Did anyone see The Kingdom? I'm really not interested in any of those kind of movies.


purvis said...

I have seen the Kingdom. I liked it, but didn't love it. Some reviewers felt it was xenophobic, but I disagree. It's hard to write about terror and not come off as being sympathetic to one side or the other. Of course, this movie followed the American protagonists around the entire time, and, like in most movies of this sort, there were far fewer (proportional) American casualties than foreign casualties, so I can see where it may seem unbalanced, but I don't think it was an essentially xenophobic film.

The main idea behind the film is that the oil-based relationship between America and Saudi Arabia is complicated and inextricable. The beginning of the film consists of a mind-blowing 4 minute long clip that rapidly and VERY effectively summarizes the history of the relationship between the two countries. I would say the movie is worth seeing just for this, but.. you can see that clip for free right here.

Jaime Foxx is an FBI team leader of some sort who gets the news that an American compound in Saudi Arabia has been attacked by terrorists (the compound in question is for American oil company employees). An even larger attack is staged later when FBI and support personnel come to the scene to investigate. A number of their fellow FBI agents are killed. Against the US and Saudi government's wishes, he brings a team of 3 other people--Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Chris Cooper, to help find the people who did it.

Along the way, Foxx's character befriends a Saudi colonel named Al Ghazi whose job it is to basically babysit the FBI agents. Al Ghazi is portrayed sympathetically, and we see him with his family, and at home praying. So a line is clearly drawn between Islamic radicals and Muslim as a whole here.

One thing that felt kind of unbelievable to me was that they brought a woman (Garner) and a Jewish guy (Bateman, portraying a Jewish guy here) to Saudi Arabia. Two groups of people (Garner being a non-veiled, foreign, non Muslim woman) that are not particularly welcome in a place like Saudi Arabia. In fact, Bateman's character has an Israeli stamp on his passport. I find it unbelievable that the FBI is so clueless that they would not know that Arab countries that are not friendly with Israel do not let people into the country when they have Israeli stamps on their passports.

Anyway.... by the end, the movie does a good job of illustrating that killing begets killing, without preaching or providing answers. I like that, because it's honest and I don't like to be preached at by movies. Not everyone will like The Kingdom, but I think it's at least good enough for a matinee.

otowi said...

Thanks for the info; I watched the first 4 minutes. In a way, it offers a possible explanation for why saudi was left out of post 9/11 stuff while supposedly the 9/11 folks were all Saudi....

purvis said...

Here is a much better review of The Kingdom, this time by a Saudi living in America.

otowi said...

Thanks, it was interesting.

GreatUnclean_One said...

Hi Safiyya

I realized that you're into martial arts movies and I thought that you might be interested in this little foreign film that's coming soon:

It's a Thai historical/fantasy flick that's about the Malay world (with alot of computerised graphics by the way). Being a Malay myself I can't wait to see this movie since it might re-ignite a revival in the Malaysian and Indonesian martial arts film industry which has been dead for over a decade when the martial arts craze had died down. So yeah, I really have high hopes for this movie, (subtitled preferably which is highly likely for, your information).

Also, the director has said that it will take place in the pre-islamic period when Malays were predominatnly Hindus and Buddhists. But again being a Malay myself i can't help but recognise that most of the costumes are very remniscent of the post islamic period of the Southeast Asian region. And another thing, it seems as if this movie will be showcasing a least known cultural group in the Muslim world, which is situated in Southeast Asia.

So it may be of interest to some Muslim martial arts and cultural enthusiasts. Hope you're interested. Peace.

Safiya said...

Great unclean one - That film looks fabulous, Jazak Allahu Khayran for the link!