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10 Facts About the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is an island nation located in Europe and comprised of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Here are some United Kingdom information to help you learn more about this region.
In Wales, people speak both Welsh and English. Welsh can be a difficult language to master, as evidenced by the fact that Wales is home to one of the longest town names in the world — Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwlllllandysiliogogogoch.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the UK is Stonehenge. And Stonehenge is quite old — believed to be created around 3,000 BC. It’s older the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
The United Kingdom is the birthplace of some of today’s most beloved sports. Cricket, rugby, soccer and golf were all invented there.
Britain is a beach lover’s paradise. There is no point in the country that is more than 75 miles away from a coastline.
The Queen of England sends handwritten cards to citizen of The United Kingdom when they turn 100 years of age. You can also apply to have the Queen send a card on someone’s 105th birthday, and each year thereafter.
The British really love their tea. More than 165 million cups of tea per day are consumed in the UK — a figure more than 20 times the amount drunk by Americans, according to Expatica.
An annual tradition in the UK involves a hillside and a wheel of cheese. In this competition, competitors chases a nine-pound block of cheese down a steep hill.
Strawberries and Ice Cream
Wimbledon is one of tennis’ premiere tournaments. It takes place on grass courts in southern London every summer. During the fortnight, people consume large amounts of strawberries and ice cream — over 27 tons of strawberries and 7,000 liters of ice cream are enjoyed by spectators throughout the duration of the event, according to Expatica.
The public transportation and numerous sporting venues make London an ideal spot to host the Olympics. Following the 2012 games, London became the first city to host the Olympics three times, as noted by Nationfacts.
The Underground Tunnel
Crossing the English Channel to get to France is easy when you board a high-speed train and travel via the Underground Tunnel (also known as the Chunnel). At 21 miles, it is the second longest underground tunnel in the world.
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2007, Action/Mystery & thriller, 1h 50m
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While providing several top-notch action scenes, The Kingdom ultimately collapses under the weight of formula and muddled politics. Read critic reviews
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The kingdom photos.
Charged with the most important assignment of his career, federal agent Ron Fleury (Jamie Foxx) has one week to assemble a team, infiltrate and destroy a terrorist cell based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Culture shock and opposition from local law enforcement combine to hinder his progress and that of his elite team (Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman), but a sympathetic Saudi police captain becomes an unexpected comrade-in-arms.
Rating: R (Language|Graphic Brutal Violence)
Genre: Action, Mystery & thriller, Drama
Original Language: English
Director: Peter Berg
Producer: Michael Mann , Scott Stuber
Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan
Release Date (Theaters): Sep 28, 2007 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Apr 19, 2016
Box Office (Gross USA): $47.5M
Runtime: 1h 50m
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Production Co: Relativity Media, Universal Pictures, Film 44, Forward Pass
Sound Mix: Dolby SRD, DTS, SDDS
Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)
Cast & Crew
Col. Faris Al-Ghazi
Anna Deavere Smith
Matthew Michael Carnahan
Steven P. Saeta
Colby Parker Jr.
A. Todd Holland
Ronald R. Reiss
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Critic Reviews for The Kingdom
Audience reviews for the kingdom.
I went into this movie not knowing what it was about or reading much on it and I found myself getting really sucked into the whole story, Many thanks to a strong cast all who were at their best, Even though it is a pretty slow film it was never boring and the last 20 minutes even though were great and fast paced it didn't fit the whole mood of the movie, Way better than I expected and if you're into modern day war action/drama this should be near the top of your list on movies to watch.
From writer/director Peter Berg comes the political thriller The Kingdom. When there's a major terrorist bombing at an American base in Saudi Arabia the FBI sends in a team to investigate, but the politics of the situation threatens to erupt in more violence. Starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman, the film has a strong cast that delivers some good performances. And, Berg's directing does an extraordinary job at bringing tension and excitement to the scenes. The script is also well-crafted; presenting some provocative questions about terrorism, the cycle of violence, and cultural relativism. Though the politics may get a little heavy at times, The Kingdom is smart and action packed.
The Kingdom was an exciting thrill ride, with great a great performance from Jamie Foxx.
This movie was just average up until the last ten seconds when they played the "we're terrorists to them so they're terrorists to us" card.
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The Kingdom (2007)
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Summary When a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited. While diplomats slowly debate equations of territorialism, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury quickly assembles an elite team and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madman behind the ... Read More
Directed By : Peter Berg
Written By : Matthew Michael Carnahan
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Movie Review | 'The Kingdom'
F.B.I. Agents Solve the Terrorist Problem
By A.O. Scott
- Sept. 28, 2007
What good is geopolitical turmoil if you can’t have some fun with it? Hollywood has been posing that rhetorical question for a long time now — from “Ninotchka” to “Rambo” by way of a battalion of World War II combat pictures — but it has so far been a bit squeamish about turning the various post-9/11 conflicts into grist for escapist entertainment.
“The Kingdom,” a whodunit/blow-’em-up directed by Peter Berg, corrects this lapse by taking aim at the ethical nuances and ideological contradictions of the war on terror and blasting away.
Mr. Berg, an actor whose directing skills improve with each project (his last for the big screen was the underrated “Friday Night Lights”), shows himself adept at the rapid cutting and hectic camerawork that are fast becoming the lingua franca of action filmmaking.
“The Kingdom” takes the breathless visual precision of the Jason Bourne movies — what the film scholar David Bordwell calls “intensive continuity” — out of the abstract hall-of-mirrors universe of intra-C.I.A. skulduggery and into a semiplausible world of international tension. Rather than explore that tension, as some other, more ostentatiously serious movies coming out shortly seem poised to do, Mr. Berg and Matthew Michael Carnahan, the screenwriter, do what they can to relieve it with fireballs and frantic chases. The result is a slick, brutishly effective genre movie: “Syriana” for dummies.
Which is not entirely a put-down. Intricate, earnest puzzles have their place in the movie cosmos, but so do lean, linear stories with clearly defined villains and heroes and lots of explosions.
The members of the cast, which includes two recent Academy Award winners (Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper), do not trouble themselves exploring the finer points of their craft, but their unpretentious professionalism is nonetheless satisfying to watch. Mr. Foxx does most of his acting with the muscles in his jaw and his upper arm, delivering terse dialogue in a silky whisper. Mr. Cooper punches the folksiness buttons as a forensics expert whose aw-shucks manner masks a steel-trap mind. Jason Bateman is the class clown, and Jennifer Garner, no slouch in the jaw-flexing department, also exercises her tear ducts and her trigger finger.
The four of them play F.B.I. investigators who travel to Saudi Arabia (the kingdom of the title) to investigate a horrific double terrorist attack on American oil company workers and their families. The team’s trip is opposed by the State Department and the lily-livered attorney general (Danny Huston), who don’t want to antagonize an important ally. Backed up by their no-nonsense boss (Richard Jenkins), the Forensic Four nonetheless head to Riyadh.
Their motives are personal as well as professional, since one of their colleagues was killed in the attacks. Their presence is barely tolerated by the Saudi authorities, many of whom are either incompetent or in cahoots with the jihadis. Meanwhile, Jeremy Piven shows up as an embassy flunky whose job is to prevent Special Agent Fleury (Mr. Foxx) and his colleagues from doing theirs.
But Fleury recognizes a fellow good cop in the person of Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), a Saudi colonel who helps the Americans both before and after the bullets and rocket-propelled grenades start flying. Once they do, the good guys are in the familiar, physically perilous but morally gratifying position of being outmanned and outgunned with the cavalry nowhere in sight.
“I’m not saying America is perfect,” Fleury says a while before the climactic barrage, “but we’re pretty good at this.” If by “this” he means making high-impact action movies, it’s hard to argue. And “The Kingdom,” hair-raising as it is, is also curiously soothing in its depiction of American competence and righteousness.
Just as “Rambo” offered the fantasy of do-over on Vietnam, “The Kingdom” can be seen as a wishful revisionist scenario for the American response to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. In some ways it’s an anti-Iraq movie, not because it expresses opposition to the war there but rather because it makes no mention of it. Instead, the film spins a cathartic counternarrative. After a murderous terrorist attack a few of our best people — four, rather than a few hundred thousand — go over to the country that spawned the terrorists, kill the bad guys and come home. And they even leave the door open for a sequel.
“The Kingdom” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for intense, graphic violence.
Opens today nationwide.
Directed by Peter Berg; written by Matthew Michael Carnahan; director of photography, Mauro Fiore; edited by Kevin Stitt and Colby Parker Jr.; music by Danny Elfman; production designer, Tom Duffield; produced by Michael Mann and Scott Stuber; released by Universal Pictures. Running time: 111 minutes.
WITH: Jamie Foxx (Ronald Fleury), Chris Cooper (Grant Sykes), Jennifer Garner (Janet Mayes), Jason Bateman (Adam Leavitt), Jeremy Piven (Damon Schmidt), Danny Huston (Gideon Young), Richard Jenkins (James Grace), Ashraf Barhom (Faris Al Ghazi) and Omar Berdouni (Prince Ahmed Bin Khaled).
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The kingdom, common sense media reviewers.
Intense, bloody look at Mid East violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The FBI team is stalwart, and the Saudi police col
Opening montage shows archival news footage of war
Brief reference to Janet's T-shirted figure, w
Language includes lots of uses of "f--k"
Images of or references to CNN, Larry King, Washin
A few scenes of a character smoking cigarettes.
Parents need to know that this intense, bloody movie isn't for kids. There are explosions, shootings, hand-to-hand combat, torture, kidnapping, a careening car chase, explicit shots of bloody bodies and body parts, and more. The overall plot and themes are also mature -- terrorism, graphic crime investigation,…
The FBI team is stalwart, and the Saudi police colonel is noble (tensions between them evolve into friendship and mutual respect). Bombers are relentlessly villainous.
Violence & Scariness
Opening montage shows archival news footage of war and terrorism (including a plane hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11). The early Riyadh attack scene includes explosions; shootings of men in uniforms, civilians, and children (a child watches a man get shot); bloody limbs, torsos, and faces; many bodies falling; and a suicide bomber exploding a grenade. Observers videotape the attack; the footage appears again in the film, and flashbacks show the attack several times. A forensics team examines the bomb crater, including body parts. Tense confrontation leads to a man slapping another. Retired bomb-maker talks about being haunted by "dead faces" and shows his hand, which is missing fingers. Roadside bomb explodes a car. Shoot-out leaves bloody bodies (shown in close-up). Chase scene features cars crashing and frenzied camerawork. Team member is kidnapped, dragged (leaving a bloody trail), tied up, tortured, and very bloody. Team's assault on the kidnappers' hideout involves lots of shooting, chaos, and noise (as well as children as witnesses), and the death of a key character.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief reference to Janet's T-shirted figure, which Saudi hosts believe should be covered more completely (Ron says she must "dial down the boobies"). Brief kiss.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Language includes lots of uses of "f--k" (20+), plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," "lucky bastard," and other phrases ("circle jerk," "you big queer").
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Images of or references to CNN, Larry King, Washington Post , Scrabble, L.L. Bean, Washington Wizards, Kobe Bryant, Rambo, the Hulk, Steve Austin (the Six Million Dollar Man ), and The Pixies (band T-shirt).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this intense, bloody movie isn't for kids. There are explosions, shootings, hand-to-hand combat, torture, kidnapping, a careening car chase, explicit shots of bloody bodies and body parts, and more. The overall plot and themes are also mature -- terrorism, graphic crime investigation, children at risk and killed, etc. -- and the camerawork is especially chaotic (some viewers may be bothered by its pretty much nonstop movement). Language includes multiple uses of "f--k" (which offends the Saudi police chief) and other profanity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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- Parents say (2)
- Kids say (3)
Based on 2 parent reviews
Great clean action movie
Powerful, violent mystery-thriller in middle east., what's the story.
After civilians are killed in a post-9/11 terrorist attack in Riyadh, the FBI calls in Special Agent Ron Fleury ( Jamie Foxx ), who quickly assembles crack team -- forensics examiner Janet Mayes ( Jennifer Garner ), explosives technician Grant Sykes ( Chris Cooper ), and intelligence analyst Adam Leavitt ( Jason Bateman ).The team heads to Riyadh, where tensions are high. The Americans bristle at predictable "backwards" thinking from the locals, including efforts to curtail their tough-guy language, conceal Janet's figure, and restrict their access to the crime scene. Ron insists they be allowed to look for evidence, question witnesses, and even go off the compound in order to determine the bombers' identities, though everyone seems to know right away that the head villain is Abu Hamza (Hezi Saddik). To offset the "bad Arab" vibe, the film also includes a very good one, police colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), who inspires Ron to persist. Since the team has only 36 hours to build a case, they work fast and rather ruthlessly, inciting the outrage of local authorities and, apparently, terrorists, who decide to take revenge by exploding cars and kidnapping a team member.
Is It Any Good?
Equal parts action movie, police procedural, and cross-cultural tolerance lesson, THE KINGDOM boasts charismatic stars and a topical focus. But for all its energy and pyrotechnic brilliance, Peter Berg 's new film is strikingly old-fashioned. It didn't have to be this way.
While it's obvious that the team will recover their man, the film underscores his brutal abuse by hooded captors -- just to make sure you know they deserve all bad things coming to them. While the U.S. offensive is supported by the Riyadh police (especially noble Al Ghazi), the focus is on the Americans, who are characterized as fierce, committed, and utterly selfless. Though Ron admits to Al Ghazi that he's aware of his nation's many imperfections, the film seems stuck on this primary points: When push comes to shove, Americans are right.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how violence is portrayed in this movie. Is it realistic or gratuitous? What message is the movie sending about the cycle of violence in the Middle East? Who "wins" in this movie? Families can also discuss how the U.S. FBI team members react to their new environment in Saudi Arabia. Are they respectful or arrogant? How do they get what they want, even when they're supposed to obey local restrictions?
- In theaters : September 27, 2007
- On DVD or streaming : December 26, 2007
- Cast : Chris Cooper , Jamie Foxx , Jennifer Garner
- Director : Peter Berg
- Inclusion Information : Black actors, Female actors
- Studio : Universal Pictures
- Genre : Drama
- Run time : 110 minutes
- MPAA rating : R
- MPAA explanation : intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language.
- Last updated : June 1, 2023
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R ambo meets Syriana in this bloated action-thriller, which tries to be gung-ho and PC at the same time. It's been trailed as the picture that shows Hollywood finally getting real about who America's enemies are, and to be fair, it does show actual Islamist fanatics carrying out a terrorist attack against US military personnel stationed in Saudi Arabia, the strategically vital and oil-rich "kingdom" of the title.
A deeply implausible A-team of FBI agents, displaying impeccable social diversity, goes out to kick ass. Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman bring the young faces and Chris Cooper supplies the gravitas. The movie neutralises the rendition issue by uncorking a tasty Saudi-on-Saudi torture scene in the first reel - but guess what? The interrogation victim not only forgives his tormentors but turns out to be a pro-American decent guy! The whole silly and tiring business is topped off with a fatuous moment of moral equivalence between the terrorists and the Americans, just before the credits, that will insult cinemagoers of every political stripe.
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- Drama , Mystery/Suspense , War
- Jamie Foxx as Ronald Fleury; Jennifer Garner as Janet Mayes; Chris Cooper as Grant Sykes; Jason Bateman as Adam Leavitt; Ashraf Barhom as Col. Al-Ghazi; Ali Suliman as Sgt. Haytham
Home Release Date
- Universal Pictures
The FBI is the lead organization for investigating terrorist attacks on U.S. interests abroad. And when an insidious, two-bomb attack on an American oil-company compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills 100 and wounds 200 more, hard-charging FBI agent Ronald Fleury can barely restrain his zeal to inspect the carnage—more specifically, to bring its terrorist masterminds to justice.
Fleury and his team of three forensic specialists—Janet Mayes, Grant Sykes and Adam Leavitt—have a scant five days to piece together the who and the what of the brutal bombing. And it’s hardly a textbook investigation. The chaotic quest for truth that ensues (marred by, among other things, another terrorist strike, inept officials, the cultural divide and the Americans’ own arrogance) feels like one part CSI: Riyadh , one part Black Hawk Down .
The lone bright spot in the investigation is a gruff-but-dedicated Saudi police officer, Col. Al-Ghazi, who serves as the team’s liaison. He equips the agents to navigate the intricacies of Saudi culture and, gradually, after a rough start, he and Fleury become close friends and risk their lives for one another.
Themes of family, friendship and courage permeate The Kingdom . Both Fleury and Al-Ghazi are shown as fathers who care tenderly for their children. Talking with students at his elementary-age son’s school, Fleury describes the birth of his son as “the best day of my life.” Underscoring that sentiment, two poignant scenes show the FBI agent talking to the surviving children of parents who’ve been killed.
Fierce bravery is a characteristic of Fleury’s team in general, especially in the film’s conflict-filled climax, where the Americans are doggedly committed to pursuing the terrorists. Likewise, a principled FBI director stands up to bullying by a mean-spirited U.S. government official. Kindness is occasionally evident in the team’s actions, such as when Mayes gives candy to a little girl who’s just witnessed the shootings of several people.
Al-Ghazi convinces government officials to stop torturing a police officer he knows is innocent. Technically, he bends some rules to give Fleury’s team access to the information they need; but his willingness to do so is framed as an act of courage in the face of stifling bureaucracy and restrictive Muslim laws. Fleury returns the favor by convincing a Saudi prince to give the officer more investigatory power.
The film’s opening montage describes key moments in Saudi Arabia’s recent history, and sets up the overarching context for the story as a battle between traditional Muslims intent on preserving a pure Islamic culture and oil-hungry sheiks and princes who’ve invited the “infidels” (read: Americans) into the Kingdom. The terrorists are shown to be motivated by their allegiance to Islam; they repeatedly make statements such as “All glory to Allah.” One homicidal bomber utters the phrase immediately before blowing up himself and many innocent victims.
The film also portrays Al-Ghazi and several others as followers of Islam who do not share the extremists’ views. We witness him praying with his family, while another character, caring for his apparently sick elderly father, says, “Peace be with you and the blessings of Allah.”
Additional spiritual references include a grieving American (whose wife was killed) angrily asking the Saudi police, “Is this what Allah wants?” and, “Does Allah love your kids more than mine?” Another American makes a joke about whose side Allah is on.
An obnoxious embassy official uses the fact that Mayes is wearing a T-shirt when she arrives in Saudi Arabia to harass her. He tells her to “dial down the boobies” when a Saudi prince shows up, and he throws a shawl over her upper torso. Leavitt reads what appears to be a Complete Idiot’s Guide to either Islam or the Quran, and quizzes his fellow team members about how many virgins a Muslim martyr can expect to find waiting for him in heaven. Passing reference is made to a “circle jerk” and a “queer.”
The Kingdom opens with images from the first two terrorist attacks. A suicide bomber blows himself up on a softball field while men machine-gun fleeing players—including a father in front of his son—from a pickup truck. (They’re subsequently shot by police.) A much larger bomb then claims the lives of many rescuers who’ve just arrived. We glimpse bloodied bodies and two destroyed buildings reminiscent of images from the Oklahoma City bombing.
After a car bomb sends an SUV with Fleury’s team inside careening upside-down across the freeway, terrorists kidnap a team member from the wreckage. Gunfire leads to a car chase, which leads to more gunfire, then to a prolonged urban shootout. By my count, at least 25 people are shot and killed in this extended scene, and several more meet their end in grenade and rocket explosions. The violence is nonstop, frenetic, intense and realistic, if not particularly gory.
One of the most troubling shootings involves Fleury’s team killing an adolescent boy who’s repeatedly shot a Saudi police officer in the face and neck. This takes place in front of the boy’s family and other young children. The family’s grandfather then reveals a machine gun and is subsequently peppered with bullets in view of everyone.
More close-quarter violence involves a fight to the death between Mayes and a terrorist who’s on the verge of decapitating a hostage. He shoves her brutally into walls and furniture, and the feral fistfight between them only ends when she stabs him in the crotch, then skull.
Other violence includes more fistfights, grenade blasts and a painful scene in which a police officer suspected to be a terrorist is beaten severely by his superiors. Mayes’ forensic skills involve examining corpses, and several camera shots zoom in for close-ups of her pulling shrapnel out of mangled bodies. Mention is made of a young boy who watched his mom die after she was shot in the face. And we watch bombmakers (including an adolescent boy) constructing vest-bombs filled with explosives, nails, screws and marbles. A group of young Saudis are shown playing violent video games.
Crude or Profane Language
The f-word is the most frequent expletive in The Kingdom , with about 25 uses (including one pairing with “mother”). Characters utter the s-word a half-dozen or more times and take God’s or Jesus’ names in vain about the same number of times (including three instances of “g–d–n”). Interestingly, Al-Ghazi tells Fleury to watch his language on a couple of occasions.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Teenagers are shown smoking at a video arcade. Al-Ghazi also smokes. Sykes talks about his affection for Pabst Blue Ribbon bear and Schlitz malt liquor.
Other Negative Elements
Personal vengeance seems to motivate both Al-Ghazi and Fleury. The policeman tells Fleury privately that when they catch the terrorists, he doesn’t want to ask any questions. He simply wants to kill them. When Al-Ghazi asks Fleury if he understands, the American replies simply, “Yes, I do.”
The Americans’ can-do attitude often degenerates into sneering condescension and criticism as Saudi regulations hamstring their investigation. Their constant sarcasm and general disdain for the Muslim culture lives down to the “ugly American” stereotype. And at times, the Americans seem to go out of their way to offend the Saudis.
Fleury extorts a diplomat in Washington into helping him get to Saudi Arabia as quickly as possible by threatening to release sensitive information about Saudi royals’ financial connections to terrorism.
Terrorism at the hands of Islamic extremists is one of the defining issues of our time. Like some other recent films that have attempted to give viewers a gritty glimpse into terrorist activity and motivation (A Mighty Heart, Syriana, United 93), The Kingdom offers a complex—if bloody and profane—portrait of Islam and the Middle East. We see Muslims whose faith moves them to blow up their enemies. And we see Muslims whose faith motivates them to care for their families and denounce terrorism.
In so doing, The Kingdom attempts to convince us that we’re all essentially similar, regardless of our culture. The most obvious and positive example of this is Fleury’s and Al-Ghazi’s devotion to their families. More darkly, however, the film suggests that we’re also the same in our lust for vengeance. Both Al-Ghazi and Fleury want those who planned the attacks dead. It’s clear in Al-Ghazi’s case—and implied in Fleury’s—that they have no desire to wait for the legal system to dispense justice (though neither ever kills in cold blood).
[ Spoiler Warning ] That implication is absolutely rammed home when we learn that Fleury and a dying terrorist have at different points in the story whispered the same chilling words of violent consolation: “We’re going to kill them all.”
Make no mistake: This is an action movie, and audiences will likely resonate with Fleury’s feelings as they pay good money to enjoy seeing the bad guys—in this case Muslim terrorists—get what’s coming to them. Why do I think so? When Jennifer Garner’s character, Janet Mayes, stabs a would-be executioner in the groin and head, the advance-screening audience I watched the movie with laughed and clapped wildly. And director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Rundown) says he experienced the exact same thing. He told Entertainment Weekly , “I was nervous [ The Kingdom ] would be perceived as a jingoist piece of propaganda, which I certainly didn’t intend.” After audiences applauded terrorists being gunned down, he wondered, “Am I experiencing American bloodlust?”
Maybe. But The Kingdom seems to want it both ways. It raises the question of whether violence, even in the name of justice, can ever resolve intractable conflicts, or whether it simply perpetuates yet another bloody cycle of retribution. At the same time, it eagerly embraces the very behavior it supposedly critiques—prompting moviegoers to cheer all the way.
Adam R. Holz
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.
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"fighting the muslim jihadists".
What You Need To Know:
(BB, P, FRFR, LLL, VVV, N, A, M) Strong moral worldview that’s anti-terrorist with a positive view of the American FBI, but with some negative and positive depictions of the false religion of Islam; 35 obscenities, five strong profanities, four light profanities; very strong intense violence with blood include two huge explosions, intense gun battle, rocket propelled grenades explode, grenades explode, stabbings, men try to behead American, many people shot dead, pointblank shootings, fighting, woman doctor pulls shrapnel from dead bodies, pools of blood, and religious terrorism; no sex; upper male nudity; alcohol use; and, brief moral equivalence between Islamic terrorists and those who fight them to kill them.
THE KINGDOM is an action thriller about an investigation into a vicious terrorist attack on an American community living and working in Saudi Arabia. The action in the third act is terribly intense and exciting, but it’s not enough to lift this thriller into the pantheon of great action flicks.
Jamie Foxx stars as FBI Agent Ron Fleury who manages to send his team to Saudi Arabia to investigate the attack by the Muslim extremists. A Saudi officer, Col. Al-Ghazi, is ordered to control the team, but Fleury and his team eventually earn the respect of the Colonel and a Saudi prince.
Their investigation leads to some of the perpetrators of the attack, but neither Fleury nor the Colonel foresee the lengths to which the terrorists will go to get back at the FBI and the Colonel.
THE KINGDOM is a compelling thriller. The movie moves into high gear in its third act with one of the year’s most intense action sequences.
Although this is an anti-terrorist movie with a positive view of the FBI, only the Saudi leaders, including the Colonel, and the terrorists they face express some kind of religious faith. In fact, the Colonel complains several times about the foul language that the FBI team repeats. Finally, despite the movie’s anti-terrorism, there are a couple lines at the end that insert a moral equivalence between America’s resolve to kill Islamic terrorists and the terrorists’ resolve to kill infidels, including innocent women and children.
Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for THE KINGDOM.
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The provocateur label that Lars von Trier has proudly worn his entire career has given way to something more melancholic in “The Kingdom Exodus,” the five-part conclusion of his now-13-part mini-series that premieres on Mubi on Sunday, November 27 th . Controversies and allegations have dogged the filmmaker with increasing regularity over the last decade or so, and his health has become an issue after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. So there’s a sense in “Exodus” that this is the work of an artist who knows he may not have many more opportunities to express himself. It’s not an accident that the first episode includes a shot of the young LVT giving one of his to-camera speeches that ended each of the first eight episodes. It's to place his youthful image in the mind's eye because his health forces him behind a curtain, only his feet visible, for the segments this time around. But it’s easy to “see him” in this fascinating return to the farcical/supernatural hybrid that’s really like nothing else that’s been on TV in the last five years.
Of course, it IS like one other TV phenomenon. Von Trier admitted that “The Kingdom” was inspired by “Twin Peaks,” and one has to wonder if “Exodus” would exist without the creative success of “Twin Peaks: The Return” in 2017. In much the same way that David Lynch revisited characters and warped imagery from his landmark series, Von Trier returns to some of the same characters and ideas, once again crafting a truly inspired blend of the surreal and the comedic. The hospital at which every scene of the show takes place is not just a place of ancient supernatural forces that might be rising to finally drag it into the earth but it’s also a place of truly mundane idiocy, a building that’s as weighed down by bureaucracy and stupidity as much as it is the evil that could be buried in its foundation.
What is “The Kingdom” about? Well, that’s where things get difficult. It’s the kind of exaggerated universe wherein a woman can give birth to Udo Kier wrapped into a form that sometimes resembles a traditional medical soap opera, but most of the doctors here are self-obsessed idiots. “Exodus” actually opens with a woman named Karen ( Bodil Jørgensen ) finishing a viewing of the first series and going to the hospital to see what’s going on there for herself. She finds more questions than answers, including an actual beating heart of the hospital and the giant head of Udo Kier, drowning in its tears. Alexander Skarsgard takes over for his dad in a very funny turn as a lawyer whose office is on the toilet and Willem Dafoe appears as a shapeshifting man who may actually be Satan. It’s a lot. And that’s just scratching the surface.
It’s really quite difficult to do the “plot synopsis” portion of a review of something like “The Kingdom Exodus.” While it’s technically got several competing subplots and dense mythology, the plot doesn’t matter as much as the mood here. It’s a show that has a cumulative power in its moments—whether it’s a weird little comedic beat like the head doctor who complains that his computer solitaire is too easy (not knowing that IT already has its difficulty set at 4-8 years old) or the terrifying image of an aggressively violent doctor popping his eye out with a spoon (only for it to be back to normal the next time we see it). “The Kingdom Exodus” feels at times like its competing tones and subplots are at war with each other—the whiplash of the broad farce of a broken system with the more terrifying Lynchian elements of a woman exploring the spiritual underground of the hospital can be intense—but that’s very intentional. Hospitals are places of extreme emotion where tragedy can exist in a room next door to a miraculous recovery. And Von Trier has often played with broad tonal shifts with dark comedy throughout much of his filmography. The extremes of his tastes just find a perfect setting at Kingdom Hospital.
Fans of Von Trier’s will enjoy picking out the themes of his career reflected again in “The Kingdom Exodus,” which now includes what feels like an increased emphasis on mortality that could be a product of his health and a slightly discomfiting subplot about a doctor (a phenomenal Mikael Persbrandt ) accused of impropriety by a colleague (the also-great Tuva Novotny ). It’s all handled in a way that can be very funny—the two actors walk right up to a tonally uncomfortable edge in a way that’s impressive—but it might be hard for some viewers to shake memories of the allegations against Von Trier himself by Bjork when the issue is being used for farce here. In the end, it doesn’t feel like Von Trier is apologizing or accusing as much as putting another part of his life into his art. He can't do anything else. Von Trier has always been a personal filmmaker, and this ends up being one of his most confessional and revealing works. He ends each episode with a line about good and evil existing in the same space. In a sense, it feels like a thought that has defined much of his remarkable career and he’s unpacking how that belief impacted his life and work through this ambitious five-hour film.
For the record, Lars von Trier hasn’t retired, and I certainly hope his health remains strong enough that he continues to work. However, if that’s not the case, this would be a fascinating send-off, a return to a work that shaped his career and reputation, maybe not with the wisdom of age as much as the sense that such a thing doesn’t exist.
Available exclusively on MUBI on November 27th.
Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.
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The Kingdom Review
05 Oct 2007
Sometime actor Peter Berg has had an overlooked career as a director. From the underrated pitch-black caper Very Bad Things he graduated to the endearingly brainless action of Welcome To The Jungle, and from there to the excellent, if unseen (at least in this country) Friday Night Lights. But The Kingdom should change that. Arguably this is his first serious film, tackling a Big Important Subject (East-West relations) with an Oscar-friendly cast (Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper) and achieving a skilful blend of action and politics — even if the action is rather more astute than the message-making.
The film starts with a credit sequence rip through Saudi Arabian history, a snappy distillation of 150 years of history. And the pace doesn’t let up from there: we’re thrown straight into an attack on a Western community in Riyadh, chillingly realised. It’s a good 15 minutes before the film slows enough to introduce the principal characters, and then only as thumbnail sketches rather than portraits of our protagonists.
It’s clear that investigator Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) and his FBI team — bomb expert Sykes (Chris Cooper), pathologist Mayes (Jennifer Garner) and analyst Leavitt (Jason Bateman), all creating rounded characters with minimal dialogue — have a personal stake in seeing those responsible for the bombing brought to justice. As such, they flout US State Department orders and arrive in the city with an often high-handed attitude to those locals already charged with the investigation.
The fact that they are right, more often than not, and that even what appear to be personal bugbears and obsessions prove well-founded, is the film’s weakness. There’s a good basic point to be made — inexpert military types don’t make great crime-scene investigators — but too many scenes suggest that Americans just know better, even without their fancy forensic techniques.
Countering this, as best he can, is a captivating performance from Ashraf Barhoum as the Colonel charged with guiding, guarding, restraining and interpreting for these interlopers. Barhoum gradually forges something like a buddy-cop partnership with Foxx’s Fleury, with the film allowing him some room, both as an individual and as a representative of his nation and the Arab world, to put across his point of view.
But for all its award friendliness and issue-making, the fact is that any characterisation on either side is almost entirely down to the quality of the cast, because the script concentrates on fitting
both a police procedural and an explosive action film into its 110 minutes — CSI: Riyadh meets The Bourne Ultimatum. And it’s here that Berg excels himself, at times capturing the intensity and feel for urban unrest of Michael Mann (a producer on this film). It’s the set-pieces that confirm he’s a director to be reckoned with.
Berg begins the opening attack with some lingering shots — the baseball game on a sunny day, a picnic, laughing Aryan types in L. L. Bean chinos — but he rips the tranquillity apart, blowing cliché off the screen. The first shots only cause mass confusion, and the real attack begins before you, or the victims, realise what’s happening. The shock of those moments echoes through the film.
A showdown inevitably arrives but seems to come out of nowhere, derailing all the meticulous and talky evidence-gathering. The final act is an all-out battle, chips and dust flying as a Riyadh tenement building disintegrates under a hail of gunfire and explosions — think Heat with more snipers. But the most disturbing moments are close-up: a desperate prisoner lashing out at his captors; a vicious knife battle; terrified women and children in the midst of a war zone. The most chilling moment, however, comes in the final scenes. A potentially too-neat parallel between terrorist and lawman makes way for a killer last line, a moment of political honesty that will stay with you long after the film ends.
Movies | 07 02 2007