Sunday, August 8, 2010

Civic duty

Plot: Its post 9/11 in America and the news is full of conspiracy theories and the ‘Arab’ frenemies’ among us.
Terry Allen(Peter Krause) a loving husband who works as an accountant has just lost his job and is facing a mortgage crisis. He is also having marital spats with his wife over his unhealthy interest in his new arab neighbor’s activities. He is convinced that his neighbor Gabe (Khaled Abol Naga) fits a ‘terrorist profile’ – because he receives money from an arab organization, has arab friends and experiments with chemicals in his kitchen sink’. He gets increasingly paranoid to his wife’s alarm (Kari Matchett)and finally comes unhinged with tragic consequences.
Wow: I really liked this movie. First it is quite believable; It could happen in your neighborhood-Terry could be a member of your family-Paranoia is real. 
Secondly you have to understand that Terry Allen was on the verge of mental illness. His being unemployed and at home all day + the media bombardment gave him too much time to feed his delusions. 
Thirdly, I liked and could relate to FBI agent Hillary (Richard Schiff). The FBI probably receive thousands of calls like this from citizens, of both real and imagined terrorist suspects. It must be frustrating trying to follow all these leads and praying you don’t overlook some important information. 
Fourthly, It can’t be easy walking in Khaled’s shoes. 

Urgh: The soundtrack though effective somewhat was also very annoying. Action scenes were heralded by this strident urgent score then the camera pans and rotates and urgh……so retro.
Why that ambiguous ending? Was it just to keep viewers talking? Lol. They succeeded then. Cos JG and I are still arguing about it; was Khaled the real McCoy? Methinks that the reflection in his eyes differed from what was playing on the TV screen so it was all his imagination.
I guess, we’ll never know I guess.
Lesson learnt: ‘Civic duty’ has convinced me that following the media sheepishly can surely lead to paranoia so please close your ears once in a while. Or swallow what you hear/read/see with a pinch of salt. 
Ginger scores it: 6.9/10

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