(out of 5)
Egyptian-born Omar Metwally has just arrived home from South Africa when he is detained at the airport, arrested by the authorities and shipped to a prison out of the country. His wife (Reese Witherspoon) waits anxiously at home after noticing that he hasn’t gotten off his plane, making inquiries until realizing that he has been detained as a terrorist suspect, in her eyes, completely without validity. His name has been tied to a bombing in Egypt whose repercussions affect an American agent in Cairo (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the cold, All Hell In The Holy Name Of National Security senator (Meryl Streep) who is behind most of the trouble. Gavin Hood’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning Tsotsi is a terribly weak, mildly interesting drama that seeks to exploit the liberally righteous sentiment of post-911 America, but does so without the basis of either good research or good storytelling. Gyllenhaal’s plotline and performance are too dull to be borne and Witherspoon isn’t nearly strong enough to hold her own in her few scenes. Streep, as usual, shines, thoroughly relishing the opportunity to return to her Manchurian Candidate wickedness, but she’s relegated to only a handful of moments which are, not surprisingly, the film’s liveliest.
Directed by Gavin Hood
Screenplay by Kelley Sane
Cinematography by Dion Beebe
Production Design by Barry Robison
Costume Design by Michael Wilkinson
Film Editing by Megan Gill