All in all, I enjoyed “Traitor,” which stars Don Cheadle as a former military man who may or may not be working with a terrorist organization. It reminded me of the Showtime series, “Sleeper Cell,” and fans of one should check the other out.
But I was a little perplexed by the ending of “Traitor.” (I should go ahead and warn anyone that still hasn’t seen the film that there are MAJOR spoilers ahead.)
So Cheadle’s character — Samir Horn — is working deep cover with an intelligence agency to infiltrate a terrorist organization that strongly resembles Al-Qaeda. Throughout the entire film, I was confused about Samir’s endgame. Was his task to stop a terrorist attack? Or was it to capture the organizers? At the direction of his handler, Samir distributed live bombs to 30 different sleeper agents who were to detonate those bombs on 30 different buses at the same time. He was conflicted about giving these terrorists the ammunition to strike such a major blow, but the implication was that it was something he had to do, presumably to gain access (again) to the operation’s organizer, Nathir. I thought his mission was to capture Nathir so the intelligence community could interrogate him and bring him to justice, but he ends up shooting the unarmed terrorist in the head. Meanwhile, he set it up so that all 30 “martyrs” got on the same bus, which made for a very dramatic scene when it came time to detonate the bombs.
Anyway, why distribute live bombs? Since he made them himself, couldn’t he have disabled them somehow? Even if that wasn’t possible, why didn’t he find a way to get the names of the 30 terrorists to his contact at the FBI? He had plenty of “alone time” during the distribution portion of the mission that would have allowed for this.
He was responsible for a bus blowing up — a bus that must have had at least a few innocent civilians on it — and he ended up killing the mastermind instead of capturing him. If that was his endgame, he could have killed the guy when they met for the first time in Toronto.
Like I said, the ending was gut-wrenching and dramatic, but it seemed forced — just to have the visual of a bus blowing up on American soil.