An effective and thought provoking thriller thanks to Cheadle7/10
A few years ago, Don Cheadle rose to the top of the acting world with dynamite performances in Hotel Rwanda, the Ocean's series, Crash, and Traffic. He even got to fight in Rush Hour 2! So it should come as no surprise that Cheadle is electrifying and deep in this film, and it is his performance that makes the film what it is: a deeply engrossing political thriller that will definitely make the audience think about the movie, and of course, the current state of affairs in our world.
Traitor did a very good job of stepping on the audience's toes with some lines that could've been considered prejudiced, and then catching themselves with actual truths about the war in the Middle East, in addition to religions themselves. This obviously takes place in the dialog of the characters, particularly those of Cheadle and Guy Pearce. The film's dialog is well written, making up for the sometimes slow pacing scenes that take awhile to transpire.
I've already heaped my praise on Don Cheadle, but I'll do it a little bit more. One of the crucial plot points is the true allegiance of his character, and it is the subtlety of his performance that will keep you guessing what side he is fighting for, though when the answer is finally revealed, you'll think you knew all along. Some call this 'predictable'. I call it great acting. Guy Pearce delivers a winner of a show as well as the straight edge FBI agent chasing after Cheadle, though his character has been done to death, to be honest. Neal McDonough is somewhat annoying in a supporting role as Pearce's partner (though I think Neal is annoying anyway...), while Jeff Daniels is a nice addition to the team. I thought another great performance came from Said Taghmaoui, as Cheadle's terrorist partner. After one of the better villainous performances of the year in Vantage Point, Taghmaoui delivers a performance just as deep and riveting as Cheadle's. This guy is one of the more underrated performers around, and he should get more work outside of being a terrorist.
I like the character development within the script, but I have some issues with the pacing of the film, which I'll take up with our director. The film seemed slow at times, as I was constantly waiting for a particular moment to happen, while 5 pacing scenes would come in the way like a roadblock and just aggravate me a bit. It's nitpicking, but some of the action was a little nauseating because of the camera. STAND STILL, YO! A decent plot twist within the ending of the film doesn't hurt at all, and adds a great element of surprise and depth to some characters.
All in all, Traitor is definitely worth a watch if you're looking to see something different to escape what is usually the graveyard for films...August. Cheadle's performance alone is worth the ticket. Taghmaoui's as well.