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Sam Davidson's blog

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I Watched a Movie: The Kingdom

Stephen and I had an afternoon to kill before our evening book signing appearance at the Xyzzy booth at SIBA, so we took in a matinée showing of The Kingdom.

I had seen the previews and was expecting some sort of Crash meets Syriana meets Traffic meets Munich. I don't know why I was expecting that - I've only seen two of those four.

What I got was a well made movie about the difficult realities that comprise the world of modern international conflict. Nothing is easy. Nothing is as it appears. And it ain't getting better any time soon.

Most of the film is shot with hectic camera work, bookended by an intense first 15 minutes and a more intense last 30. And, just when you think the good guys win, you have to ask if that's really the case.

The Kingdom isn't so much about the current complexities surrounding Islamic terrorists or American personnel on foreign soil. At its core, the movie is much simpler that than. After you peel away the huge budget that was used to create large explosions and bring big names to the roles, after you get past the levels and layers of geopolitical struggles, and once you dig deeper than the hundreds of years of history of misunderstandings, the movie is just about one thing: how we treat other people matters.

The movie is more about what we tell our kids, what we say to others, and how we improve the lives of those around us than about the clash of different cultures. It's graphic and bloody - intensely real and simultaneously over the top.

But it makes you think.