A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
An American man deals arms to his country's enemies and later appears to have joined a group whose mission is to hurt the United States. A trail of bloodshed metaphorically follows most scenes, though as viewers get to know the main players in the story, it's clear that their beliefs are being tested somewhat. There are glimpses of friends taking care of each other, even in prison.
Violence & Scariness
An embassy bombing kills a handful of people (a man is shown planting the bomb); blasts of gunfire sometimes result in bloodshed. Lots of discussion about ways to sabotage the stability of the American people. Beat downs in a prison yard; a man is thrown off an overpass; and more.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The lead character has a girlfriend, though they aren't seen in any embraces or clinches; mild joke about virgins.
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A few uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "damn." Not prevalent overall.
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Products & Purchases
Nothing too glaring --- just logos for subway stations, GMC SUVs, and a few other products.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some smoking and drinking in social situations.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this adult thriller revolves around lofty ideas and mature themes (including faith and terrorism) that may not interest kids, or even teens. The violence -- of which there's a fair amount, including an embassy bombing and gunfire that leads to bloodshed -- and discussions about terrorism might be upsetting to younger viewers. There's also some swearing, smoking, and drinking. All of that said, the main character seems like a man who struggles as much as he can to be true to his faith, and watching him navigate this quagmire is actually quite thought-provoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Taut and intriguing -- for the most part, anyway -- Traitor succeeds on a basic level thanks to Cheadle's acting prowess. Rather than playing Horn as a typical action-hero prototype, he creates a character so complicated and conflicted that the movie nearly transcends its flaws. Nearly. But it does have flaws. For starters, it skates over too many details -- how Horn metamorphosed from government soldier to arms trader, how his tangled web got its start. And while it certainly attempts to present a more full-bodied representation of extremists and extremism, the movie relies a little too much on shorthand, even though it willingly takes on a complex subject.
If not for the great acting ensemble, the enterprise would come across as paint-by-numbers. As it is, for a thriller, it feels slack and predictable in places -- as in Horn's encounters with a prison bully and how his response buys him the respect of others, for example. And, at times, it's self-consciously ponderous. But there's no denying the film's timeliness and its laudable efforts at injecting humanity into a hot-button debate. Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who also co-wrote the script, doesn't just rely on dogma and polemics, and for that he deserves some kudos.
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Our Editors Recommend
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