There are many characters who figure prominently in the story and it would be difficult to name one as the lead character. My nomination would go to Jake Gyllenhaal's Douglas Freeman, whose difficult choice at the end of the movie makes him the most compelling character. Douglas is a new agent stationed somewhere in the Arab world. When a terrorist attack kills one of his partners, he must fill in his fallen comrade’s role. This includes the interrogation of an Egyptian born American resident who is suspected of complicity in various terrorist plots. The inhumanity of the interrogation, coupled with Douglas’ growing suspicion that the suspect, Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), is innocent begin to gnaw on Douglas’ conscious.
It shall no doubt come as no surprise that the movie takes a stand against the practice of rendition. The end, however, is another matter. I must admit that I did not see it coming and even found myself momentarily confused before I was able to get oriented. The climax is inspired creativity and improves on an already solid effort.
The strongest aspect of the movie is the acting, and it’s a good thing, because the weakest aspect is the development of characters. There is little in the script, and perhaps even less in the direction, to flesh out the characters and make them endearing and memorable. The actors are asked to create characters, and fortunately they do a nice job. Led by, surprise surprise!, Meryl Streep's exceptional performance as Senator Corrine Whitman, the movie will be a delight for those who admire a fine performance by a thespian.