The Kingdom

The Kingdom

In Theatres: 
Sep 28, 2007
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 50 Minutes

The Kingdom is an extremely potent film, maybe an over abundance of potency that brings a realism to the film that some audience members may not be able to handle. With that being said its only fair to warn you before you see this film that there is a lot of violence, not without purpose, but violence nonetheless. Depending on where your heart is at when considering our current war time situation and all of the things we have witnessed in the media, I think this will gauge how well you can handle this film. If your sensitive to the material, by all means I would suggest not seeing the film.

The Kingdom opens on an extremely powerful note that will let you know how well your going to do watching the film. it’s a heartbreaking, jaw dropping, uncomfortable experience but it sets the mood for the film. It left me utterly speechless and paralyzed as to what was going to come next. The opening sequence is a clear message that writer Matthew Michael Carnahan (Brother of Smokin’ Aces director Joe Carnahan) is going to deliver a blunt and straight forward script that isn’t going to tip toe around the subject matter, nothing is taboo here.

What makes this film so good is the writing. It felt like Carnahan wrote every role specifically for each actor in its place. Jamie Foxx (Jarhead) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) do extremely well in their parts. A few people have insisted that Chris Cooper (Adaptation) and Jennifer Garner (13 Going On 30) both got backseat roles in this film but I think even as background characters they serve a purpose. Cooper and Garner are more the analytical team while Jaime Foxx handles the action and Jason Bateman handles the comic relief, though, as harsh as the film is on subject, Carnahan manages to find room for plenty of humor.

Actor turned Director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) does an extremely impressive job capturing the film behind the camera. I don’t know if it was the projector at the theater or the film though but the screen seemed to jump an awful lot. Other then that it was fantastically handled. Anything that needed to be seen was seen and Berg does a good job of making the camera work feel like a character at some points, which surprised me because very few directors do that anymore.

The advertisements for this film state that the last twenty minutes of the film will have you on the edge of your seat. I’ve always hated that phrase.  I think it sounds stupid and that it adds a sense of hype that a film may or may not be able to live up to. Here, this phrase works extremely well.

Though I felt on the edge of my seat for the entire run time of the film, an extremely emotional roller coaster ride throughout, those last twenty minutes broke the inspired silence of the crowd and gave the film something that my audience literally rooted for. Of course when the film ended it felt like I was walking in a funeral procession. Very few people spoke and as I left the theater, I don’t know what it was, but I felt like it was only right to exit on a silent note.

This is an incredible film, the best so far this year, and if you can handle the subject matter then its an absolute must see in theaters. If I could give a grade higher then an A+ I would.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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