In Traitor, Don Cheadle shines, as always, and he made me enjoy the film more than I might have with any other actor in the role. His emotions, so tightly wound, seeped from every pore, but it was Cheadle’s eyes that did all the work for him. The story was compelling, but Cheadle is the movie. He made me ache for him, even when I didn’t agree with his character’s motivations or beliefs. In my book, that’s a gifted actor. The film itself dragged a bit after the first hour and involved far too many characters that were never truly developed, but I was engaged throughout. The chief question is just how this federal agent managed to get himself in the situation he is in, and just how much of himself is in the man he’s portraying. These questions were never fully answered for me, but that made the film even more fascinating. I was uncomfortable with the images onscreen and the motivations of the characters, and I was unsettled to a point that most movies can’t deliver. This is good filmmaking, despite popular critical analysis. Unfortunately, Cheadle’s nemesis, Guy Pearce, was uninteresting and often laughable, and that detracted from my enjoyment quite a bit. With a little tighter editing and fewer characters, Traitor would have been a much better movie.
image from Rotten Tomatoes