“The Kingdom” Packs a lot into an Entertaining Punch
Action flick. Political thriller. Investigative drama. The new film directed by Peter Berg and starring Jamie Foxx, called “The Kingdom”, attempts to squeeze all of these elements into one gripping film. For less adept directors, this would be too large of a task that could easily overwhelm audiences with
an uneven and overly ambitious plot.
Here, however, Berg presents a well crafted and heart pounding saga that grabs you from the beginning and won’t let go. He succeeds to one degree or another on all of these levels while never forgetting the goal of entertaining the viewer.
Foxx, as Special Agent Fleury, heads up a strong ensemble cast which includes Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and the ever reliable Chris Cooper. These four members of the FBI travel to Riyadh to investigate a terrorist bombing that claims the lives of a couple hundred Americans and Saudis. The story offers perfect doses of action, humor and heart pounding intensity from a cast that seems sold-out to their roles and the story in which they find themselves. There is real chemistry here, and it is helped along by newcomer to American cinema Ashraf-Barhom. His role as Col. Al Ghazi, a loyal Saudi police officer in charge of keeping an eye on the American intruders to the eastern way of life, is as convincing as they come. He has no problem sharing the screen with such heavy weights as Cooper and Foxx. I expect that his performance in Kingdom will lead to some quality offers in significant roles. Keep an eye out.
Cultural and religious differences are explored to a mild degree without slowing down the plot with overly preachy sentiment about diversity. There are a couple of times when the filmmakers feel the need to nudge us and remind in politically correct fashion that not all Muslims are bad. The primary goal though is to entertain and not to sermonize. It is first and foremost and “edge of your seat” thrill ride. The Kingdom does it’s job and does it well. Mission accomplished.
I give this movie a 10 out of 10.
Dan Kulp is lead singer for The Dig Project
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