As a film seeking to entertain, it fails. It's preachy, contains too much talk and not enough action, has too many characters and plots, and several dialogues are in foreign languages (Arabic, Urdu, Farsi). It's not a date movie.
As a film seeking to inform, it's brilliant. I found it riveting. It held my attention for most of the movie. It's realistic. Not a single frame can be said to be fake. And to a politically aware Muslim, this film is simply the best film of this year.
Watch this film if you want the following questions answered:
- Where is the gas that you are pumping into your SUV coming from?
- Why are there dictators in the middle east?
- Why are there poor Arabs in the Middle East, when they are amongst of the richest nations in the world?
- Why is America hated in many parts of the Muslim world?
- What happens when there is unemployment in America?
- What is the connection between the oil companies of Houston, the White House, the Arabs and the US military?
- Where are reformers, the liberators of women, the nationalistic rulers in the Muslim world?
- Why do some young, Muslim men commit to blowing themselves up?
Next time I meet some gung-ho cowboy telling me how his people are liberating people and fighting for democracy around the world, I will just point him to this movie. Whether he can sit through the movie is another question. It rams home some unfortunate and uncomfortable truths.
Too bad that those who are not politically inclined will find this movie long.