In Traitor Academy Award winner Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn, the titular traitor of the title. The provocative question the movie asks is, “Who exactly is he betraying, the United States or the terrorists?”
The international story of terror and intrigue begins in 1978 in Sudan. Samir is a youngster who witnesses his father’s brutal murder. Fast forward thirty years to Yemen. Samir is now an arms dealer trying to sell a truck load of detonators to a group of extremists. When the FBI, headed by agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce), burst in on the deal, Samir and co-conspirator Omar (The Kite Runner’s Saïd Taghmaoui) land in prison. Soon, the devoutly Muslim Samir and Omar escape from the jail and embark on an international conspiracy to spread terror. Following hot on their heels is Clayton, who can’t quite make sense of the evidence regarding Horn. Where, exactly, do Samir’s loyalties lie?
Regarded simply as a thriller Traitor has a credible story that will keep the viewer guessing until the final moments. After a slow start it builds in suspense and tension until reaching an exciting climax in Halifax of all places.
Keeping everything on course is Cheadle who hands in a fine performance as the double-crosser who keeps us guessing which side of the fence he falls on right up until the end.
Unfortunately director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who did a good job in seamlessly blending together the film’s many locations and story-lines, felt the need to tag on a cheesy coda that doesn’t do the rest of the film justice. I can’t say what it is without giving away a major plot point or two, but the last five minutes feel tacked on.
Traitor is a smart and exciting thriller but you may want to avoid the after screening rush at the bathrooms and leave the theatre a couple minutes before the credits roll.