The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Starz/Anchor Bay - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 114 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels, Said Taghmaoui, Neal McDonough
Written & Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Music by: Mark Killian
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 19, 2008
"The truth is complicated"
Academy Award® nominee Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Crash) and Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential) star in Traitor, a taut international thriller set against a puzzle of covert counter-espionage operations. When straight-arrow FBI agent Roy Clayton (Pearce) investigates a dangerous international conspiracy responsible for a prison break in Yemen, a bombing in Nice and a raid in London, all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn(Cheadle). But a tangle of contradictory evidence emerges, forcing Clayton to question whether his suspect is a disaffected former military operative—or something far more complicated. Obsessed with discovering the truth, Clayton tracks Horn across the globe as the elusive ex-soldier burrows deeper and deeper into a world of shadows and intrigue. Traitor is written and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (screenwriter of The Day After Tomorrow).
I am a Don Cheadle fan and his presence in a film ups it potential for me. I find him to be engaging, genuine, and adept at his craft. I didn’t catch Traitor during its theatrical run but I saw the trailer on the Deadspace Downfall BD and thought it looked intriguing. This is an espionage based thriller that focuses on Cheadle’s character Samir Horn. He is an American citizen, born in the Sudan, who comes to this country after his father is killed, right before his eyes, in a car bombing. He joins the military and serves in the Gulf/Afghanistan. He disappears and resurfaces in Yemen during a joint FBI/Yemen police raid on a group of known terrorists where he is arrested. FBI Agent Roy Clayton (Pearce) is tracking a known Terrorist cell and its leader and suspects that Horn may be linked to them and is a traitor. As the events unfold it is clear that things are not necessarily what they seem and it is up to Clayton to find the truth in order to prevent a terrorist attack on U.S soil.
This was an above average thriller that was clearly made better thanks to a solid performance by Cheadle. The story wasn’t bad but there were a few too many convenient circumstances and cases where common sense (especially for Horn) didn’t dictate what occurred. The screenplay followed a basic formula that left no real surprises. I liked Clayton but his sidekick/partner played by Neal McDonugh was just plain annoying and in my opinion served no real purpose. I thought that Said Taghmaoui was excellent in the role of Omar. The fact that the story revolves largely around his and Cheadle’s characters is great because they had strong onscreen chemistry which worked quite well. Looking at the story as a whole I found it entertaining and worthy of its 114 minute runtime.
The rating is for intense violent sequences, thematic material, and brief language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Traitor comes to Blu-ray Disc from Starz/Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
This is a strong video presentation that is reflective of the type associated with newer release films on Blu-ray Disc. Colors appear accurate with well delineated primaries and deep textures. Skin tones are as good as I have seen and looked superb. Images are rendered with excellent visual penetration, resolute sharpness and defining detail that is particularly striking during brighter sequences. Some of the darker scenes aren’t quite as definitively resolved and appear less dimensionally convincing. Blacks are nice and deep with appreciable visibility in uneven light and shadows. Contrast was boosted slightly which overdrove some of the bright sequences and washed out detail. This wasn’t damaging and in most instances wasn’t an issue at all. I noticed one or two noisy backgrounds but this was minor and would probably be missed if not looking for it.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack did a great job in balancing the mix of dialogue and action based elements in the recording. I never had trouble discerning the soft spoken and interpreted dialogue used in the film. It was crystal clear and slightly forward in presentation which made it more readily discernible. Dynamic range was strong and explosions and gunfire had palpable impact and energy. This is predominantly a dialogue driven film however the surround platform is utilized to excellent effect during several action based sequences. This results in good quality sound that is both immersive and vigorous as it fills the room with a nice blend of deep bass energy and 360 degree surround quality.
- Audio commentary with Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Don Cheadle
- (HD) Action! – The stunts and special effects of Traitor – short featurette
- (HD) International espionage: An look at the shooting locations featured in Traitor - short featurette
- 3 Blu-ray Disc trailers from Starz/Anchor Bay entertainment
- BD-Live enabled – Server access is not currently active but should be by release day
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Includes a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
Traitor is an above average and entertaining thriller that doesn’t deliver in the originality department however a fine performance by Don Cheadle helps to elevate its appeal. Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment has done a wonderful job with its debut on high definition Blu-ray Disc. Its audio/video quality alone is worth the price of admission which is good because its slim bonus feature set is rather disappointing. I would recommend giving this a rent prior to purchase. If you have seen it and already like it then feel free to pick it up.
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