The Kingdom (2007)

The Kingdom (2007)

Director: Peter Berg

Cast: Jamie Foxx as Ronald Fleury, Chris Cooper as Grant Sykes, Jennifer Garner as Janet Mayes, Jason Bateman as Adam Leavitt, Ashraf Barhom as Colonel Faris Al Ghazi, Ali Suliman as Sergeant Haytham, Jeremy Piven as Damon Schmidt, Richard Jenkins as Robert Grace, Tim McGraw as Aaron Jackson, Kyle Chandler as Francis Manner, Frances Fisher as Elaine Flowers, Danny Huston as Gideon Young, Kelly AuCoin as Ellis Leach, Anna Deavere Smith as Maricella Canavesio, Minka Kelly as Miss Ross

There is much to like in The Kingdom. Nice performances, a slightly-new
take on the buddy-cop story, Jennifer Garner's upper lip, and some
excellent action set pieces. However, halfway through watching it, it
occurred to me that it would in fact have been a much more interesting
film if none of the stars were in it. Which was little odd, because I
am very fond indeed of Jennifer Garner's upper lip.

The plot is this: There is a big terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. Some
FBI agents led by Jamie Foxx, fast talk and bamboozle their way into
the country to investigate, where they team up with two Saudi cops.
There then follows a small amount of detective work, some interesting
political manoeuvring and two really rather well-done shoot outs.

Now, I like Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner('s upper lip)
who play the FBI agents, and although all three do the best they can
with the material they are given, no effort is made to make their
characters interesting. What's worse, although they aren't interesting,
they are nevertheless vastly superior to everyone else. Thus nearly
every single advance in the case is made by these three. They are the
ones who solve everything.

The two Saudi cops, on the other hand, are interesting characters. Two
good cops working in a corrupt, brutal system. Trying to solve a
horrific crime whilst faced with hostility from their fellow officers
and political interference from above. What's more, they're human. They
have weaknesses and fears. They make mistakes.

And that's what occurred to me. I thought to myself that this film
would almost certainly be more interesting and entertaining if the
whole idea about the FBI agents had been removed, and instead, we'd
just been following the wily but unfailingly polite Colonel Al Ghazi
and his loyal sidekick Sergeant Haytham as they tried to solve the
crime. Instead, once the FBI turn up, these two get relegated to
standing to one side and looking suitably impressed every time one of
the names-above-the-title stars does something brilliant.

Right at the start of the film, Jennifer Garner's character (ably
assisted by her upper lip) makes a comment about how if the Saudi's
allowed the FBI into the country to investigate the crime, it could
prove to be enormously destructive. If only the film makers had
listened to her.

It's not that the Kingdom is a bad film. In fact, it's actually a
rather good film. I just think that if they'd dropped the stars, it
could have been much better.

0 Response to "The Kingdom (2007)"

Post a Comment