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13 Nov, Tuesday
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‘The Kingdom’ Stirs Controversy Before It’s Even Released


UNIVERSAL Studios is releasing a movie on April 20 in the US called The Kingdom which is about a team of FBI special agents who get sent to Saudi Arabia to infiltrate a terrorist group before they bomb a Western compound that houses many Americans. (Click here to watch a trailer.)

Starring Jamie Foxx as FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury, Alias’ Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, among others, the film has already managed to get blogger Fedo the Space Cowboy, who is a Saudi studying in Texas, all excited about what the film promises to be.

“I checked out the movie’s page and watched the trailer; I did not like what I saw at all. Don’t we have enough self-indulgent attempts out there aimed at depicting the United States as the global messiah? Do we really need more movies like Independence Day, Navy Seals, and True Lies?” asks Fedo.

I too watched the trailer and found nothing objectionable. In fact, the Saudi policemen’s uniforms look authentic and the blurb describing the movie says: “…a sympathetic Saudi police captain helps them navigate Riyadh politics and investigate the true cause of the attack.”

At least the film seems to make the distinction that not all Saudis are extremists or terrorists, which in my book is a good thing. And let’s not forget the deadly Al-Qaeda attacks on housing compounds in Riyadh in 2003 and the attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah in December 2004. These are not figments of our imagination. The truth is that there are still some Saudis who reject modernity and progress and who want to take us back to the Middle Ages. I’m sure Fedo would agree with me on that. I think he’s just having a knee-jerk reaction to the film.

Comments (3)

  • categorically imperative

    Why isn’t Jennifer Garner wearing an abaya? :p

  • Fedo

    Dear Rasheed,

    Initially, I do agree that some Saudis want to take us back to the Middle Ages. However, if you read carefully between the lines, you’ll see that there’s more to the movie than you think.

    First of all, they show the terrorists in police uniforms; police uniforms were never involved in terrorist activities in Saudi Arabia. It is an illicit stab at the way the police and other Saudi authorities handle security.

    Second of all, there the scene in which Jamie is -supposedly- talking to a royal, who is most likely the King. Notice his condescending tone when saying “let us do our job.” This is one of the things that irritate me in the way Americans depict themselves in movies.

    These are just some of the many things I noticed, and didn’t like, about the movie.

  • Rasheed's World

    Hi Fedo,

    For your information several Saudi terrorists used security uniforms and work IDs in their attacks both in Yanbu and in the Eastern Province a few years ago on oil related installations and offices in which several Western managers and Saudi security forces were killed, so showing terrorists in the movie using police uniforms is not a stretch of the imagination by any account.

    I just think we should watch the movie first before condemning it out of hand. Who knows, you might even like it! 🙂

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