Theatrical Release: October 19, 2007


Gavin Hood, whose “Tsotsi” became the first film from the former Apartheid state to win an Academy Award, will make his Hollywood debut directing first-time screenwriter Kelley Sane’s multi-layered story centering on a CIA analyst based in Cairo who finds his world spinning out of control after he witnesses the interrogation of a foreign national by the Egyptian secret police. Witherspoon has been tapped to play Isabella El-Ibrahim, the pregnant American wife of an Egyptian-born chemical engineer whose family emigrated to the States in the mid 1980s, who is shipped off to a third world country for interrogation after he is deemed a political prisoner in our post-9/11 world.

Dove Review

This film includes strong performances by Peter Sarsgaard and Jake Gyllenhaal, two men who try to do the right thing in a post-9-11 world where interrogations are used. A debate rages over if they are actually torture sessions or a needful means of gaining intelligence for the protection of the United States. Meryl Streep, playing a leading official in Washington is also, as always, excellent in her role.

The director, Gavin Hood, does a good job of laying some mystery before the viewer. I found myself going back and forth between my convictions in regards to the innocence of the tortured man. Some of the characters in this film have difficult decisions to make, and some lead to life changing results. Unfortunately, the film crosses the line in the violence and language categories, as well as the drugs and nudity categories, and we cannot award our Dove Seal to the picture as a family-friendly film.

Content Description

Sex: Some passionate kissing; a couple become very passionate but stop.
Language: GD-1; J-1; For Ch**st Sake-1; G/OMG-1; D-1; F-9; SOB-1; H-3
Violence: A bomb goes off and people are killed with some blood shown; a man is seen close up with blood on his face; a man is tortured several times by being slapped and hit and he is shocked with electricity; and water is powerfully poured into his face; the same man is put into a hole as punishment; a group planning a rally is attacked by police and beaten; a suicide bomber is seen about ready to set off a bomb.
Drugs: Drug use-a character smokes something but it is not clear what; drinking; cigarette smoking.
Nudity: Rear Male nudity as a male is tortured; shirtless men.
Other: The issue of terrorism and the question is raised as to if the United States crosses the line in its interrogation of suspected terrorists; photos of a corpse; a woman under stress goes into early labor.


Company: New Line Cinema
Writer: Kelley Sane
Director: Gavin Hood
Producer: Steve Golin
Genre: Adventure
Runtime: 120 min.
Industry Rating: R
Starring: Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, J.K. Simmons, Peter Sarsgaard
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter