INFIDEL is…okay…I guess? With the production value, ho hum direction, some awkward moments and an out of place action climax, it seems like it should’ve been a mediocre HBO or Showtime Original movie. But I’m guessing it is getting released in theaters because there is absolutely no competition right now and it thinks it can maybe make more money that way? I don’t know. In better hands, this could’ve been an amazing film. It could’ve been an audacious, riveting and soulful religious thriller. Instead it focuses way too much on its ideological agenda where the tension is completely void in the scenes where it is supposed to be. The film has great acting and it has some great quiet moments that are much better than the loud ones to be sure, but it just feels like a weird mixture of tones that didn’t quite work for me, but would work for a lot of other people that are not necessarily that into motion pictures. If that makes any sense to you. Per IMDB, Infidel is described as such: “An American man, played by Jim Caviezel, is kidnapped after a friend invites him to Cairo to speak out about recent militant uprisings. His wife heads to the city after hearing the news, determined to get him back.” What is so frustrating is that near the beginning of the film, Infidel has a much more interesting story inside of it, that is resolved much later in the movie with a few lines of exchanged dialogue. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Also, the film kind of irked me at the very, very beginning by showing a scene that takes place later in the narrative, but then rewinds and shows what happened leading up to it. If you are one of my constant readers, you know that is a cardinal sin in motion pictures for me.
The main problem for me is that the film really doesn’t have much tension. I never felt like Jim Caviezel was really in that much danger or torture. The movie is rated R yet feels like a tamed PG-13 direct to video forgettable piece of cinema. The film has a very, very out of place action sequence climax that is edited really awkwardly which makes the pacing a bit slow when it should be frantic and insane. It’s hard to explain, it just felt like the climax should’ve been more covert and subtle. The acting and the story itself is the only thing that really holds the film together from being a complete disaster. Jim Caviezel is excellent as always and the woman that plays his wife, Claudia Karvan, is quite good as well. And the story of a journalist being kidnapped and tortured for his beliefs will always make for an interesting string of events on the big screen. But it just needed a better writer and director. Cyrus Nowrasteh, whose work I’m not familiar with, who looks like he is trying, I just think he’s out of his element directly behind the camera. He should just stick to writing and even then maybe collaborate with someone that could spruce up some of the more awkward sequences. And an action director he is definitely not. Or a director that knows how to film and edit tension. That’s what a film like this needs as its main ingredient and unfortunately I don’t think there was even a teaspoons worth to write home about. The most interesting thing is that this movie was filmed before coronavirus yet mentions it in here, saying some prisoners that Caviezel is around has it…suspiciously though it sounds like ADR, as that line of dialogue you don’t see a single mouth move with it. This film feels so awkward, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case.