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Edinburgh Sees The Kingdom
Berg's latest is Festival Surprise Movie

23 August 2007  |  Written by Alan Morrison  

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Audiences at the Edinburgh International Film Festival were among the first in the world to see The Kingdom, when Peter Berg’s explosive action thriller was unveiled as the programme’s unnamed Surprise Movie on Wednesday night. The film – starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper – follows an FBI team who head to Riyadh to work with Saudi police after a terrorist attack kills over 100 American citizens in a supposedly secure compound.

No disrespect to Berg – who draws great performances out of his cast and handles the action scenes with tremendous skill – but The Kingdom looks, sounds and feels like a Michael Mann movie. And, indeed, Mann is one of the producers. The opening car bomb attack on the compound is devastatingly realistic, but it’s when the good guys start closing in on the bad guys in a built-up downtown Riyadh neighbourhood that the gunplay really resembles Mann at his best.

Overall, The Kingdom plays like Syriana with beefed-up West Wing politics and increased firepower. On a political level, when it opens it won’t so much be Operation Desert Storm as Operation Shitstorm, when accusations begin to fly about American imperialism and an anti-Islamic bias. Which, in this case, is nonsense. The film is anti-fundamentalist, but in no way anti-Muslim. The two bravest characters in the film are Saudi police officers. In fact, let’s start a campaign now to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ashraf Barhoum, who plays the dedicated Colonel Al-Ghazi.

In previous years, Edinburgh’s Surprise Movie slot has been filled by Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, LA Confidential, Spirited Away and The Bourne Identity. The Kingdom itself opens at the end of September in the US and is slated for an October 5 general release in the UK. By a handy coincidence, one of the film’s stars, Chris Cooper, flies into Edinburgh on Thursday for an audience interview session tied into the Festival’s screening of Breach. No doubt he will now have to field a few questions about The Kingdom as well.

Check back for the full Empire review, still to come.

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Your Comments

Looks Awesome
Very much a smart looking movie in the vein of Michael Mann - and that can only be a good fucking thing. More

Posted by AboyNamedSue at 15:34 on 27 August 2007 | Report This Post

JASON BATEMAN!!!!!! That is all. More

Posted by Leomuse at 23:46 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

Pants Trailer
I hope it is as good as you say, because the trailer made it look like America against the world: noble FBI being hampered by sneaky Saudis. Turned me right off. More

Posted by Burglarman at 16:43 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

The Trailer Doesn't Display This As Good
Just saw the trailer for the kingdom on Apple Movie Trailers. Hmmm! Not so sure. Doesn't look very good and I never liked Jamie Foxx so I doubt I'll be paying to go see this. Might wait for the dvd and even then I don't know if i'll bother with this... More

Posted by Filmfreak666 at 16:34 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE:
Spoiler warning next time you gobdaw. More

Posted by talpacino at 16:23 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

I saw this film last night and would say it is ok, I would give it 2 stars out of 5, the film could have been a hell of a lot better and more original, Direction and action were good but the story sucked, the story was very one sided, the Americans being the good guys, the Arabs the bad guys and of course it had all the usual clichés, 4 indestructible FBI team members who can kick more ass than a battalion of Navy SEALS with air support, not to mention the fact that they all survive at the More

Posted by smack at 16:05 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

I feel very harsh and shallow saying this but The Kingdom looks very boring. Sorry. More

Posted by mattchoman at 15:12 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

saw the tralier not so sure about this might watch it out of respect to both Cooper and Fox More

Posted by Tony Soprano at 14:19 on 23 August 2007 | Report This Post

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