The Kingdom (R)

Drama 110 September 28, 2007
By Robert Wilonsky
Aside from the occasional murmured reference to Iraq and the so-called war on terror, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom is little more than a run-of-the-mill kill-’em-all fuck-you — a film in which the good guys (which is to say, the white guys) spend two hours tracking down the bad guys (which is to say, the brown guys). It intends to boil the audience’s blood within minutes: Dozens of U.S. citizens living in a Saudi compound are machine-gunned and blown to smithereens by jihadists, and there are countless images of dead children and their grieving parents. Berg, whose directorial style could best be described as anxious, wants us demanding our pound of flesh before the end of the first reel. So in comes the cavalry, an FBI investigative team consisting of Jamie Foxx (as the commanding officer who finagles his way into Saudi Arabia without the secretary of defense’s OK) and a cast of other replaceable parts whose only definable tasks are to shoot or get shot at in this made-for-Fox News movie bereft of a brain. It’s all so much noise and nonsense — a hateful waste that adds nothing to the dialogue about war, loss, sacrifice, and intolerance save for yippees and hell-yeahs.
Peter Berg Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Tom Bresnahan, Ali Suliman, Ashraf Barhoum, Minka Kelly, Richard Jenkins, Jeremy Piven Matthew Michael Carnahan, Michael Mann, Peter Berg Peter Berg, Michael Mann, Scott Stuber Universal Pictures

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