I’ll begin with a blunt statement: I’m agnostic, and as such, I do not particularly seek out movies where concerns of faith take the leading role. With that being said, I was somewhat surprised to learn that Infidel was such a movie. However, even disregarding my general distaste for faith-based films, I still contend that this is a terrible and disjointed film that is both disrespectful to its alleged source of inspiration and displeasing to general audiences.
Infidel stars Jim Cavaziel of Person of Interest (and The Passion of the Christ) fame as Doug Rawlins, a Christian writer abducted from a conference in Egypt and imprisoned in Iran for speaking about his faith. The film is broadly split between two plot points. The first features Iranian militants interrogating him, accusing him of being an American spy and demanding that he denounce his faith – something he refuses to do. The second chronicles the efforts of his state department employee wife, played by Claudia Karvan, to free him. Karvan is, of course, obstructed by an uncaring and uninterested American government and is forced to take matters into her own hands to travel to Iran herself. This has the basis for a compelling story, but in trying to be both a faith drama and a spy thriller, it falls flat on both fronts. The actors do their best, and Karvan deserves credit in particular for the range she demonstrates. However, they are dealing with a film that cannot decide what it wants to be. The poorly shoehorned action sequence near the end is one of the best demonstrations of this.
It is also worth noting that this film is, apparently, based on the story of Robert Levinson – a man who is unfortunately believed to have died in captivity while held in Iran. The artistic license becomes quite clear at barely a glance. Unlike Doug in the film, Levinson was a former FBI and DEA agent contracted by the CIA’s Illicit Finance Group under the Office of Transnational Issues. Rather than being abducted from Egypt while essentially evangelizing as Doug is, he disappeared while on assignment in Iran, believed to have been conducting an investigation into corruption within the Iranian government. Rather than tell the story of a patriot who died serving his country in a foreign land or effectively highlight the human rights abuses of the Iranian regime, the film chooses to become an almost parody-esque tale of evil Islamic extremists and kind, devoted Christian heroes.
All in all,
2 out of 5.
Not worth the price of admission.