Traitor

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - September 10, 2008
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Peter Togawa, actor in the Army Community Theatre play Oliver

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

I saw it at the Pearl Highlands Theatre with my wife Katherine Jones.

Overall what did you think?

I thoroughly enjoyed it.It’s very cerebral and definitely a thinking man’s movie. So it’s not going to be popular mainstream.There are the action shots that will get you the thrill and excitement,but the majority of the movie goes by fairly slowly.My wife would describe it as being slow-paced, but I consider it story building,plot building and character building. I enjoyed it immensely.


Were the plot and storyline realistic?

Very.More so than people would like to see.

Can you talk about that briefly and explain a little about what happened?

Basically, as I understood it, there was an undercover agent,and that is the Samir character. In every way obvious it appears that he has become a traitor and is working for a terrorist organization.The entire movie kind of goes around that theme. So that was the superficial theme, which is whether he was a terrorist or not.But there’s a deeper meaning,which is identity. It was more a story of this individual, who is being true to his identity and who he is, but everyone around him is questioning who he is, as an American and an individual. So it’s cool in that way because it has so many levels. There’s a key line in the movie when he hooks up with one of the leaders of one of the terrorist organizations. He asked him when they were in jail,‘what language do you dream in when you sleep?‘Samir says that he dreams in English. And the other guys says, ‘It’s funny,because although English is not my native language, I dream in English as well.’ The line kind of defined the whole movie. To me that really tied in to identity and you really don’t know who the “bad"guy is.But I don’t see this movie being popular because it almost gives a sympathetic view of terrorists and why they do what they do, and why it’s a religious belief that they’re willing to give up their lives for.The other thing that they do constantly in this movie is they play chess.In playing chess is a subliminal message that it’s all a war game. And it hints that these two men are just pawns in this fight - one for the Americans and one for the terrorists.

How was main character, Don Cheadle’s, performance?

Oh my gosh, the guy is excellent. He is tortured in this entire movie because he has to do things contrary to his beliefs.There’s a scene that shows his acting ability and how he is such a tortured soul. He’s a man who’s really tested in many ways in this movie. His performance was excellent.There’s even a fight scene in this movie, and he can fight and move.

Did the movie wrap up nicely, or did it leave some loose ends?

You know, most movies tend to appear as if they are rushed toward the end,but this one actually ties everything up nicely. It’s almost quite impressive how it ended.It was brilliant.So yes,it ties up everything really well,and it’s actually one of the few movies that did it as nicely as this one did.

On a scale from one to four stars, what would you rate this movie?

★★★.


To whom would you recommend this movie?

Definitely people who are curious about world events and looking for a movie with multiple levels. It’s rather deep.

What’s new?

I’m in musical theater and we’re pretty excited because Oliver the musical opens at Ft. Shafter’s Army Community Theatre.I play Sykes, the bad guy,and I’ve been told that I play this character differently from other performers.Bill Sykes is a dark, brutal character with severe mood swings. So it’s very difficult because in real life I’m not like that at all.And so it’s been really challenging, so it’s really exciting. (Oliver is on stage at Army Community Theatre Sept. 13, 19 and 20.)

 

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