Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Review of the Kingdom

This is a counter-review to non-Arab fellow blogger Ananyah's review of the recently-released movie the Kingdom (IMDb)...

As a Saudi national both living and studying in the US, many of my American friends, who had seen the Kingdom last weekend, hungrily sought feedback from me as soon as they found out that I saw it too. Before I had opened my mouth with as little as a peep, I wasn't quite sure what the nature of their reactions would be towards what I had to say about this piece of American media.

In short, the movie fed on emotions, a lot of mixed emotions. It relied very much on the cast, visual effect, and the latest advents of cinematography; substance-wise, it was a dismal pond of sensationalism. The movie was not worth the admission fee, to say the least; however, my curiosity was. The cast who played the Saudis were a helter-skelter group of what seemed to be Jordanians and Moroccans for the most; perhaps some Palestinians as well. So, initially, the movie lacked authenticity.

The movie also depicted the leader of the Kingdom as young, pretentious and unexperienced; 'tis quite the contrary to what the current news show nowadays. The plot was an exaggerated, condensed version of all tragic incidents that have occurred thus far in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The movie showed Saudis as barbaric, misogynistic, chauvinistic, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as hell incarnated. The character Colonel Faris Al Ghazi was the classic US protagonist; he's been to the US and loved it, he's even been to a basketball game. The movie provided viewers with an adolescent perception of world affairs at best. Only 53% of critics have provided positive feedback about the movie so far (for more information, check out this Wikipedia entry).

For those of you who are seeking a good die-hard-like action movie, this is definitely a good choice. However, if you are someone seeking education about the Kingdom and its people, I wouldn't recommend this movie at all, but instead recommend you go read Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia by Rachel Bronson (

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Eid

"This is the first time that the Empire State Building will be illuminated for Eid, and the lighting will become an annual event in the same tradition of the yearly lightings for Christmas and Hannukah," according to a statement.
-- Yahoo! News

Very interesting. :)