There's a lot going for "Infidel" and there's quite a bit against it. The movie wants to be two different things. The first half has very little resemblance to the second half. Written and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, "Infidel" is the story of an American kidnapped by Hezbollah during an interfaith conference held in Cairo. The American ends up in a notorious Tehran prison, filled with political prisoners. He is given a death sentence, based on the trumped-up charge that he's a spy for the CIA. Supposedly "inspired by true events," "Infidel" was executive produced by Dinesh D'Souza, who helmed the propaganda films "Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party" and "Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?". Because of D'Souza's presence, one might think the agenda of "Infidel"—and there is one—would be front and center to a tiresome degree. But that's not the case. Agenda-driven films make for dreary viewing and "Infidel" is never dreary. Aided by excellent performances across the board by its international cast, "Infidel" works best when it's an old-fashioned thriller.
This film marks the second collaboration between Nowrasteh and Jim Caviezel, the first being 2009's effective "The Stoning of Soraya M.," with Oscar-nominated Shohreh Aghdashloo tremendous in the role of an avenging aunt determined to save her niece from being stoned. Caviezel is most well-known for portraying Jesus in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," as well as the series "Person of Interest." I have so much affection for the 2000 film "Frequency," where Caviezel plays an emotionally damaged man who connects with his dead father (Dennis Quaid) over a ham radio. He's a wonderful actor, and mostly chooses projects where he can express his Christian faith. In "Infidel," he plays Doug, a well-known Christian blogger, who causes an international incident when he proselytizes to a Muslim audience during his appearance on a Cairo talk show: "Jesus is God, and he wants to be your God." Later that night, thugs abduct Doug from his hotel room, whisk him away to Lebanon for months of torture, before transporting him to Iran. Doug's wife (Claudia Karvan) works for the United States State Department, and does her damnedest - pulling every string possible - to get him out.
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