Infidel

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Infidel Movie Poster Image
Dull action movie has mixed messages on faith.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie includes a few discussions about faith from different points of view; at times it seems open to listening to multiple perspectives, but it eventually returns to one "correct" viewpoint. Nevertheless, there's enough here to inspire more discussion. The movie is dedicated to citizens still imprisoned in Iran, which could also inspire further research.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Doug is an iffy role model, making some questionable decisions and being at the mercy of others for most of the movie. And it's problematic that, overall, White characters are portrayed heroically, while those of Middle Eastern descent are mostly depicted as either extremists or subversive Christians fighting against "evil" Muslims. But Liz is a pretty decent, strong female character. She holds a seemingly high position in the U.S. government and knows a thing or two about spying and other interesting things. She also jumps into action to rescue her husband, and although she makes a mistake or two, she comes out looking like a hero.

Violence

Guns and shooting; secondary characters are shot and killed, and afiring squad is shown. Grenade, explosions. A pregnant woman is in a car crash; her stomach is covered in blood. A young woman is kidnapped, tied up, mouth taped. Character is abducted, held prisoner. Character hit in head. Punching, fighting, kicking. Prisoner whipped, threatened with power drill. Scary-sounding audio from an otherwise unseen torture video. Mention of suicide.

Sex

Quick kissing between a married couple.

Language

Strong language includes "f--k," "bulls--t," "s--t," "a--hole," "balls," "damn," "hell," "wanker," and "shut up," plus "thank God," "Jesus," and "Christ" exclamations.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Minor social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Infidel is an action thriller about a blogger named Doug Rawlins (Jim Caviezel) who gets kidnapped in the Middle East; his wife, Liz (Claudia Karvan), a member of the U.S. State Department, comes to his rescue. Violence includes guns and shooting. Minor characters are shot; a young woman gets kidnapped and tied up, her mouth taped; a pregnant woman is involved in a car crash (bloody stomach shown); and a man is abducted and held prisoner. There's also fighting, punching, threatening, a grenade, and explosions. Language is likewise quite strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. Doug and Liz share some quick, affectionate kisses, but otherwise sex isn't an issue. Cigarette smoking and social drinking are shown. The movie is rather cumbersome, with mixed messages about faith (Doug writes about Christianity) and problematic representations, but at least a couple of the characters (including Liz) are interesting.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byltcolkep September 24, 2020

Worth a watch

A thriller that deals in the real world problem of religious intolerance particularly in the fanatical Islamic world. Not really a movie that attempts to prosel... Continue reading
Adult Written byRealReviewsByCa... September 22, 2020

Good movie about faith

I have two girls one is 16 and the other one is 11. My 16 year old watched it and loved it! It has a good message and I’m going to let my 11 year old daughter w... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In INFIDEL, Doug Rawlins (Jim Caviezel) is a journalist and blogger who specializes in writing about Christianity. He and his wife, State Department official Liz (Claudia Karvan), are invited to a graduation celebration honoring the daughter, Meena (Noor Taher), of Doug's friend and colleague Javid (Aly Kassem). Later the couple receives a call: Meena has disappeared. The police investigate and discover a downstairs room in her home that's filled with extremist Islamic propaganda; Javid is arrested. Then Doug is invited to speak on a TV program in Cairo. While there, he makes some controversial remarks. Back at his hotel, he's kidnapped and taken to Tehran, where tormentor Ramzi (Hal Ozsan) forces him to write in his blog. Meanwhile, Liz tries to use her government connections to rescue her husband but finds that she's on her own.

Is it any good?

This "inspired by true events" drama is presented in a blandly impersonal, uninspired manner, with wobbly, uneven filmmaking, a dull lead character, and a mixed collection of messages about faith. Doug remains rather flat throughout, and when he's kidnapped, it could be for either of two possible reasons, rather than one strong reason. Perhaps writer/director Cyrus Nowrasteh intended to use one of these reasons as a red herring, but instead it (Doug's controversial TV interview) just ends up hanging there for apparently no reason. Meanwhile, the movie occasionally seems to be open to exploring different kinds of faiths and beliefs, but it always pulls back and returns to Doug's being the "correct" one; he even gets to "forgive" his tormentor/kidnapper at one point.

Perhaps because of this character flaw, Doug's relationship with Liz -- who renounced her faith after losing her unborn baby in a car accident -- isn't explored very deeply. How do they communicate or connect with each other when they have such different value systems? But Liz is a crackerjack character, and Karvan plays her with plenty of vibrant gusto. Ozsan's kidnapper/tormentor, Ramzi, is also interesting and amusing. Infidel briefly comes alive when these characters are driving the scene, but then the filmmaking flaws come in to stall things once again. The camera drifts and shambles uneasily, and the seemingly random cuts are both jarring and rhythmically monotonous.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Infidel's violence. How much is shown, and how much is suggested? How did each kind of sequence make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How are different beliefs and faiths shown in the film? Are they represented equally? What do you think makes people argue and fight over faith?

  • What's the significance of Liz renouncing her own faith? Does it change the way she relates to her husband? Does it change the way he relates to her?

  • Is Liz a strong role model? If so, how?

  • Is Ramzi an interesting character, even though he's the villain? Why are some villains in stories actually kind of fun to watch?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas based on true stories

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