Review: The Kingdom is a Great Film

It's kind of weird to process the fact that I just saw a great movie. It's weird because it's been awhile, it's weird because my expectations were already high (which usually leads to disappointment) and it's weird that the most anticipated summer season in my movie going life didn't offer anything on this level. So many bullets have been fired at "great" this year, and all have come up short until now. In a land littered with "good" and "not so good" The Kingdom is looks down from on high above them all.

So, yeah, I liked it. The Kingdom is the story of a four person FBI team sent to Saudi Arabia to investigate a terrorist attack. The team is comprised of Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, and the unstoppable Jamie Foxx. They are all good, though Bateman and Foxx made the movie for me. Garner did her best to make the part real, and Cooper has been let out of the Breach inspired probation I had placed him in. I just hope you haven't seen much of the trailer, because you deserve to enjoy this one at every turn if at all possible.

What The Kingdom nails is pacing; every moment is worth watching. You're either laughing, wondering what will happen next, or flat out interested in the situation. There isn't a part where your mind wanders to rent, or where you think "well, this part is boring." The tension is rock solid based upon the investigation, concerns for the team's safety, and the international relations factor. Director Peter Berg should get to direct much more, even though I love him as an actor too.

The story itself is also tremendous. Nuanced without being indecipherable; thoughtful without being preachy, The Kingdom is the type of movie that will stand up to a viewing 20 years from now. I think the film does have a message, but if you're not the sort who's into that you can probably gloss over it pretty easily. It's got enough action to keep action fans interested and enough solid dialogue to entertain those of us who cringe at cheesy lines. I can't tell you a single thing wrong with this movie. The guy who saw it with me mentioned he didn't like the score but I don't think many people will notice that. There are probably some logic issues too but the film is always true to its own concept so I can't really complain there either.

You should check this one out. Hell, even the opening credits are good. And I hate opening credits. The Kingdom will likely be the best movie of the year for me, and I’ll see it again in the theater. It’s not often someone effectively tackles Middle Eastern politics, the federal government, terrorism, gender relations, cultural differences, and an investigative techniques into one taut punch. This film deserves all the praise that will be heaped upon it, and it deserves your movie going dollar and consideration too. It’s a film worth talking about, and it’s as entertaining as hell. Yeah, we had to put up with sequel summer to get here, but The Kingdom was worth waiting for. This is the type of film that sustains you through the average ones, this is the type of film that makes hope spring anew.

Grade: A+