The Kingdom is a gritty and realistic look into terrorism and our nation’s response to it through the eyes and hearts of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Film making 24/25
Bonus Features 20/25
The Kingdom has not only a great story but the film making and cinematography is so well done it really does give you a glimpse into a real world. We all know and have seen terrorist movies and what can happen on film, but to actually see from the standpoint of those investigating these events is unique.
Take this “from the eyes of the FBI” and go just a bit beyond with real life intermingling of cultures and religions and you have a real true to life story that unfolds in The Kingdom. After a terrorist attack on an oil company housing facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia FBI investigators bribe their way into the country so they can investigate.
The investigation turns into not only a battle between cultures and religions but one of who to trust as even the most innocent looking can betray what trust you hold. When one of their own is killed in a bombing FBI Agent Ronald Fleury, played by Jamie Foxx asks superiors permission to investigate the incident.
Of course with all the red tape and international politics he is denied and he uses some influential friends to convince, bribe?, the Saudi Ambassador to let them into the country. Special Agent Fleury heads up the team with Special Agent Leavitt played by Jason Bateman, Janet Mayes played by Jennifer Garner and Grant Sykes played by Chris Cooper.
They are met in Saudi Arabia by a member of the State Police Faris al-Ghazi played by Ashraf Barhom, who is in charge of the compound but not the investigation. Through several scenes of political stone walling they convince Colonel al-Ghazi to help them get more involved with the investigation after they help him in their own way.
While the whole movie has some great acting and very well done cinematography I thought Ashraf Barhom did a superb job in acting here that really stood out from the others. The movie has one of those real life drama tones and shows not the heroic and larger than life people but real life emotions and people wanting to find out answers to the story behind the bombings.
During the investigation they find answers but are on the clock to make things happen before their allotted five days are up. In quick succession they not only get some clues and unravel who is behind the bombing but also find out how to recognize them as everybody is not who they seem.
Before they can find all the answers they need the convoy of American FBI agents and Saudi Police are ambushed and one of them is taken by the terrorists. In a close call scene with plenty of gunplay and action the FBI agents chase down the terrorists to rescue their friend and fellow agent before they can execute him on camera.
The movie shows how different cultures and religions view things in such heartfelt ways but how they pass on their beliefs to the next generation. Several of the scenes in the film show how the terrorists really do operate and how their agenda is one we totally misunderstood back the 1990’s.
The Blu-ray edition of The Kingdom not only includes the great action and glorious high definition of the movie but additional features include the usual commentary, U-Control and picture in picture features of Blu-ray as well as bonus scenes. One making of scene includes how they filmed the intense action of the highway scene where the convoy of agents and their Saudi Police guard are ambushed.
Other features include the Mission Dossier and history of operation Kingdom which are both interesting sections with the Mission Dossier being an interactive sequence of a few sections of the film. The picture in picture scenes in the Mission Dossier show how the film occurred in real time while the smaller upfront picture shows an illustration of how events occurred in conjunction with the real time movie.
This dossier is an interesting take on how the FBI may look at real events and show them using computer animation and graphics to give them a better idea of a sequence of events. The history of the Kingdom is a real life timeline leading up to events that are being used as the background for the movie.
While the movie itself is not a factual real life event some of the back story leading up to it is real and gives the movie its real gritty look into terrorism in the eyes of FBI agents being thrust into their world. The additional features are fun and give an additional look not only into the movie but a fun way to see things that may be used as an extra look into how events played out in the movie.
There is not hours of additional features but enough to make purchasing the Blu-Ray version worthwhile for more than just the better high definition movie effects and better sound. The Kingdom is a great movie and one that will remain in my private movie collection as it is a great action movie told in a way you can really feel.