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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

The Kingdom

Ashraf Barhom and Jamie Foxx in The Kingdom (Universal)

Maybe I've just got Shakespeare on the brain but lines he penned 400 years ago remain surprisingly relevant today. Turning once again to Macbeth, I find the fitting Shakespeare quote: "We but teach bloody instructions which being taught return to plague the inventor." That cycle of violence is on display in Peter Berg's The Kingdom (opening Sept. 28 throughout San Diego), a tale of an FBI forensic team investigating the bombing of a U.S. facility in Saudi Arabia. But because of the region and the way religion plays a role in the proceedings maybe I should quote the Old Testament rather than the Bard to sum up the way blood begets blood.

Actor-turned-director Peter Berg helmed one of my all-time favorite films, the deliciously nasty Very Bad Things . Now he brings some of that savage, nihilistic attitude to a more formulaic and mainstream product -- the action thriller The Kingdom. Berg mixes crime procedural with tense action to deliver one of the better Hollywood flicks on the Middle East. It's up there with Three Kings for its sly mix of pop entertainment and social message.


Beth Accomando
November 09, 2007 at 04:48 PM
I just had the chance to interview Matthew Carnahan about writing Lions for Lambs and I had to ask him about the open to The Kingdom, that I liked so much. Here's what he had to say about it: "That was actually Pete Bergs idea. There was a scene in one of the first drafts that everybody loved but it went on for way too long. It was as they were flying over in the plane. Theres a broader discussion of what the heck Saudi Arabia is and what Americas relationship to it has been. It was this provocative scene but it was seven pages of script which just is not feasible. So from that and from a lot of Petes own research, they came up with this idea of opening with this kind of mini-documentary. I think it was a stroke of genius on his part because it set the table for what youre about to see." Thought that might be of interest to people who see the film. -----

DBinSD from San Diego
February 10, 2008 at 06:42 AM
I applaud the review -- I skipped this in the theaters, but rented it last week. Powerful, intense stuff. The last 30 minutes should come with a warning -- put your kids to bed, take the phone off the hook, and buckle up.