Recommendation: 2/5 Stars, SKIP
Plot: “An American man, played by Jim Caviezel, is kidnapped after a friend invites him to Cairo to speak about recent militant uprisings. His wife heads to the city after hearing the news, determined to get him back.” -IMDB
Review: I assumed since it has been 19-years since the September 11th terror attacks, a period in which Muslim men were betrayed as enemies in an exhausting number of films, shows, and books, we were tired of stories based on clichés and overblown generalizations. Yet, “Infidel” exists to continue feeding the flame of people who get their news from “The 700 Club.”
In so many ways, this film attempts to begin or add another line to the conversation about religion. We are supposed to see Doug Rawlins’ (Jim Caviezel) talk of religion in the face of a Muslim friend or on Egyptian television as brave. Instead, I was left feeling dirty and as if lines were written just to incite controversy. In an era where “COEXIST” bumper stickers have become all the rage, this movie tries to fan flames of division. This movie is not an olive branch. It is propaganda.
Of course, Doug comes close to paying the ultimate price for his bravery. Kidnapped from Egypt and placed on trial in Iran, this film leaves the religious realm and attempts to enter the political. As if trying to say something profound about Christianity and Islam was not enough, this film pulls up to the table for a second helping of American/Iranian disagreement. It does so without a great deal of context and in a way that left me tremendously uncomfortable.
I know there are real differences between faith practices and I also know there are real political differences between the west and the middle east, but there is a monumental difference in how a great film like “Argo” attempts to tell the story and this project. One does it with background and nuance and the other does it by playing to a single audience. I am not a member of that audience and I think it is dangerous to make these types of movies. For this reason, please skip this movie.
Be good to each other,