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The Kingdom
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Kingdom More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Disappointingly awful. Just what gets to be called a 'film'?

1/10
Author: inspired_by_film from London, England
24 October 2007

It had the budget, the cast, the high profile (well done, marketers) and the subject matter, but lacked pretty much everything else that can make a film worth watching.

Throughout it felt formulaic, with awful dialogue and empty, clichéd characters. The only character that was watchable (in that he made me laugh and intrigued me) was the main Saudi soldier, Colonel Faris (Ashraf Barhom). Made watchable by Barhom's performance, but still lacking due to the abysmal script. The script, by the way, was completely devoid of originality apart perhaps from the end (but I will say no more as I don't want to give away any details to those who really want to see this 'film'). It was heavy-handed and did not draw me in at all.

It really is a shame that The Kingdom was so disappointing, and discourages me from wanting to see any more films from Hollywood - especially if they are marketed in the same vein. Don't waste money here. Go and watch something like Spooks (MI-5) - a TV series no less. At least that doesn't parade around as though it's sending out a 'message' whilst using a budget that would have been better spent elsewhere, e.g. funding films in countries like Lebanon (where film is totally under-funded).

I'm sorry to those of you who like the film and/or dislike reading negative reviews, generally I'm on that side of the fence. I just had to speak out about this film!

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26 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Hollywood return to steady cam....PLEASE!

1/10
Author: robar-4 from Australia
25 October 2007

A lot of reviews have already been written about this movie, some good, some bad. However, the comment I wish to make concerns the use of "Wobble Cam" cinematography. This has to be the second worst movie I've ever seen using this technique and it was almost unwatchable. The worst being "Blair Witch" with Paul Greengrass's "Bourne" & "United 93" taking the third and fourth place. "The Kingdom" had some big spectacular action sequences, which should have been good, but the camera-work was so appalling it was hard to see what was going on. Even when the cameraman managed get the action actually in the frame the scenes were cut too short. Why have Hollywood producers and directors chosen to torture their audiences. Maybe a hand held camera can heighten the dramatic atmosphere of certain sequences but why wave the camera around while the characters are talking to each other. Making the audience aware of the camera is pretty stupid technique as it destroys any involvement in the story and characters. Of course bad camera-work can also disguise bad direction, which can sometimes be fixed in editing, however this didn't work for "The Kingdom". What ever happened to Steady cam! ...One Star is too much for this heap of rubbish!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great story; impossible cinematography

1/10
Author: Penwords from Sebastopol, California
19 May 2009

We eagerly anticipated enjoying The Kingdom. The cinematography destroyed it. After watching fifteen minutes of jiggling hand-held cameras, over-the-shoulder close-ups of everybody and anybody, gratuitous quick-cuts, and scene wipes using passing vehicles, we surrendered. It was impossible to enjoy this.

Don't directors and cinematographers remember that the audience is the end target of film-making? The audience should be able to actually see the movie and without getting a headache or vertigo. To paraphrase Phyllis Diller: "The Kingdom was shot in the dark, cut in the dark, and I stepped in it."

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Solid glossy thriller but has little going on beyond this (minor spoiler)

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
16 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A suicide attack on an American civilian camp in Saudi Arabia is only the precursor to a much large attack on the response units. The Saudi's manage to convince the State Department that a formal US response would only make things worse for them but Agent Ronald Fleury pulls some strings behind the scenes to get himself flown in with a small team. On arrival the political nature of their presence is immediately obvious and the team find themselves in the middle of a strange world where the West is accepted by some but fiercely hated by others.

There is no denying the power of the opening ten minutes of this film. We see suicide bombings daily on the news to the point where the numbers don't seem to hurt anymore but to see the carnage simulated here is disturbing and quite upsetting. However this unsettled me because I was also aware that I was watching an action movie and that I was watching civilians of all ages being murdered for my entertainment. If I overlook my issue with this for the time being I will give the film its due because, when it moves, it moves quickly and efficiently. The final twenty minutes are indeed gripping and exciting and does get the pulse going. Problem is, before then, we are not given a huge amount to be engaged with; OK it does enough to move the film along as a thriller but nothing more than that.

This was my main issue with the film, it at once wants to be an exciting thriller but it also uses the very real carnage and unrest in the Middle East to do it and it wants to say something about that at the same time. In this regard it doesn't really do much. The final scene that parallels US and them is too little too late and would only have been a clever conclusion if it had been something that had been written into the script. I did hope for more because, although very simplistic, the opening credits did a solid potted summary of the political background and the importance of oil in the area – but this was not sustained or built on. Instead the material doesn't have the intelligence and commentary value that it clearly wants to and Berg can only really hint at more.

The cast hold back their performances a bit because I guess they know that it is not just a balls-out action movie but one of relevance. Foxx leads the cast well enough when it comes to being a physical presence but otherwise he just speaks softly to convey menace – not great but serviceable. Garner is so-so at best, not someone I look to for performances and indeed she doesn't deliver a great deal here. Cooper is OK but I felt that Bateman was out of place and perhaps miscast in his role – as well as being the most obvious candidate for something bad happening to him. Barhom was good and worked well with all the A-listers around him. Chlander, Jenkins and Huston were OK faces to add into the mix but Jeremy Piven's turn was just too silly to really fit, it would not have been a big step to have him offering to "hug it out" with the Prince.

Overall then, this is a perfectly serviceable thriller that at times is exciting and gripping. However the attempts at meaning and depth mostly misfire even if the odd touch showed the potential. It is too complex and quickly the film goes for the easy targets of slick action and thrills, shunning the content. The result is an enjoyable film of "CSI: Middle East" but without anything else going on I did find the use of very real issues to be a touch insensitive and a bit difficult to relax into.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Very Bad

1/10
Author: bruce-161 from Australia
9 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The shaking camera work throughout the whole movie was home video like which was so awful that I had a headache after watching this piece of crap. No movie should be filmed with this kind of shaking camera style which is virtually torture of audience's eyes. The action scenes were not clear and just a huge confusion. The highway chase and explosion was so confusion that I did not know who was chasing who and who was being killed. Also, how could only 4 FBI agents could won over a large group of terrorists with heavy weapons was not realistic at all. One of the worst movies I have ever seen. I want my DVD rental fee and my 90 minutes of my life back!

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

from the prospect of an arabic i think its one of the best in the year

10/10
Author: m_mehesen from Egypt
20 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this movie is enjoying touching amazing everything i read most of the comments about that movie but the strange thing that no one made a comment about the main idea of the movie which is how similar we r what ever our cultures or religions were which is something i truly believe in and it was a good trial from the film makers to show it in that movie seriously if u think about it the how completely different the saudi society and the American society ( whether u agree with this life style or that one that's not the point ) u will find in the movie that the motives for everything they do is similar whether they r Americans or saudians the acting was terrific specially ashraf barhouma i donno where this actor have been before but he is really good the final scene with the i will kill them all is fantastic every one has his motives for killing which if u think about it is the same and the war goes on but why its simply becoz we r similar our similarity make it harder to communicate i know its a crazy idea but u will find it in that movie and it is true :) last wanna say i really loved it and enjoyed it the arabic performance is good the ppl r actually speaking arabic not as most of other movies about arabs where bla bla bla is the language :D u will love it just watch it and think for a while after it

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

One of the most powerful movies I have ever watched.

10/10
Author: minerva1961 from United Kingdom
6 January 2008

I've given this movie a 10 rating - not because it is "excellent" but because it is so intense, as someone who has lived through the troubles in Ireland and experienced terrorism first hand I have to say that I was shocked at the realism of this movie, I thought Bourne three was intense but this takes it to a new level and I think it is because it is so real and here and now. The third part of this movie I had to pause and come back to as it was just 'too real'..

There are comments about the acting, the music and even the camera work here - couldn't even begin to pass comment on any of those as the story was so intense, this is not your average action gung-ho movie, this is real life and one of the most powerful movies I have ever watched, my thanks and hats off to EVERYONE involved in this movie.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

They can't help themselves, Hollywood that is

1/10
Author: Grover91506 (Grover91506@yahoo.com) from Los Angeles
3 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They really can't help themselves. And Berg is like the rest of the clones that dominate the film industry.

1. American agents are portrayed as arrogant, sarcastic, and largely ignorant. This could have been a good movie had they made the characters like real Americans, not a Hollywood stereotype.

2. It is completely unbelievable that a female FBI agent would not know that she would not be allowed, in Saudi Arabia, to touch a dead Muslim man's body.

3. I would love to see a Hollywood product that does not promote their stereotypical view of American service men and women, sadly this film is just another example of their bigotry. They just can't help themselves.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Shaky Cam

5/10
Author: barberoux from Philadelphia
8 October 2007

I did not like "The Kingdom". It had a bad case of shaky cam. Why film makers persist with the shaky camera to generate interest is beyond me. It seems they are incapable of framing a shot. They tend to move the camera all around and maybe think there is a good shot in there somewhere. I think they should study a movie like "Seven Samurai" to understand what a well framed shot is like. If there is some reason for a shaky camera, maybe in kinetic action shots, I can accept it but a shaky cam during a conversation plus obscured shots. Why? Is it because the actors and the conversation alone won't hold anyone's attention then consider a decent screenwriter or better actors. It is style over substance. Maybe the lack of substance in movies is the driving force. Also I have to comment on the extreme close-ups. Why? What is next, nostril cam? The elite FBI team in this movie seemed to be portrayed with the mentality of high school students. There was this snarky background banter and the jokes. Not repartee but jokes, stupid boorish jokes, and this is coming from supposedly well educated, highly trained individuals who are in Arabia investigating the death of colleagues. It was poorly written. Jamie Foxx did a good job despite the weak script. Poor Jennifer Garner obviously was suffering from some virus that caused her to look wan and misshaped and puffed up her lips. Chris Cooper, a fine actor, was wasted. My wish that Jason Bateman got shot went unfulfilled. The Arab cast was very good and seemed much more mature and realistic than the Americans. The last half of the movie was action filled and moved quickly thankfully free of the snarkiness of the rest of the movie. I did not like the anti-Arab or the anti-Islam tone of the movie. You can have bad guys and an enemy without disparaging, or joking, about a culture we seem to be ignorant about. If you like things' blowing up real good and your view of world is basically jingoistic then you may like this movie. I didn't.

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Great flick for many of the reasons listed here, but.....

1/10
Author: imdb-com-565 from Canada
31 December 2007

Jiggle cam, jiggle cam, jiggle cam.

I can only conclude that directors and cameramen must be bowing to some sort of peer pressure. Oh, Bob used the jiggle cam in his movie! That must mean it is good! I guess I'll use it too!

Wake up people.

The jiggle cam is perhaps the worst filming technique ever invented. It completely removes you from the viewing experience, instantly returning you to reality. It makes it almost impossible to see what is actually happening. Why even bother with special effects. One could probably simply use cut out cardboard dummies in all these jiggle cam sequences!

So distracting and unwatchable is this grade school shooting style, that I must give an otherwise good film a 1.

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