Over Spring Break, we watched our recent Netflix movie, The Kingdom, and I must say I learned a lot. The intro might seem long for the average viewer, but I enjoyed the mini documentary. As Entertainment weekly says,"The three-minute intro that PIC produced gives viewers a succinct and entertaining historical background, and it saved Berg from having to shoehorn a time-consuming backstory into his film." With the history lesson out of the way, the movie takes you through the twists and turns of the complicated problems in the Middle East - but not without a few surprises....
The first thing I learned was about these Aramco communities. I never knew that one of my uncles lived and worked in one similar to the one in the movie for several years. I forget who said it in class, but I agree that the movie portrayed the community as a bit more hick than my uncle explained. He said it was a mix of people from around the world and they were all a bit eccentric, but smarter than your average bear. I wonder why the director decided to give the impression of small town west Texas. Did anyone catch the Tim McGraw character?
The next thing I learned was about bombs. There is a very surprising link between marbles in the film that is one of my favorite parts. When the marble first appeared, I asked my father about it, "Why was there a marble in the bomb?" To my surprise, my mother answered! My math teacher of a mother knew more about bombs than I felt comfortable with. I guess a few years of working for the Navy doing weapons testing will teach you a few things about how to make an effective car bomb?! When the character played by Jennifer Gardner tries to make a small Saudi Arabian child stop crying towards the end of the movie, the marble reappears for a twist I don't want to spoil for y'all. It definitely goes to show that we are fighting a very different type of enemy in the Middle East.
Heading into the end of the movie, it was still unclear to me whether the movie was more pro-peace or pro-war. It seemed clear that oil was involved in the matter, but it also displayed the complicated differences between our two cultures - Americans and Saudi Arabians. I guess my question was cleared up in the end - and the answer was kind of neither. What the director did by having both an American and Saudi extremist say, "We are going to kill them all" was ask the question - when will all this end? And will anyone be coming out of it alive?