Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is an Arabic-speaking Sudanese-American and devout Muslim. His Sudanese father was killed by a car bomb when he was a child. As an adult, Samir is first seen operating as an arms dealer. While negotiating a deal with Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui) in Yemen he is arrested and thrown into a Yemeni jail. Later, Samir and Omar become friends and when Omar's people arrange an escape, he takes Samir with them. They meet Fareed (Alyy Khan), a lieutenant in the al-Nathir terrorist organization. FBI Special Agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) suspects Samir has been radicalized and begins tracking him.
Joining al-Nathir, Samir uses the skills he learned as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant with the U.S. Army Special Forces to bomb the U.S. consulate in Nice, France. It is revealed that Samir is working under deep cover for a US intelligence contractor, Carter (Jeff Daniels); Samir is devastated when he learns that despite Carter's covert efforts, innocent people perished in the consulate bombing. Impressed with Samir, Fareed introduces him to leader Nathir, who discloses a plot to place suicide bombers on 50 buses in the U.S. during Thanksgiving, and instructs Samir to act as liaison to each of the al-Nathir sleeper bombers. Later, Carter unwittingly interrupts a meeting between Samir and Omar, and is killed by Omar.
Samir reveals his deep cover to Agent Clayton, who tracks him to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. While on board a cargo ship to Marseille, France, Samir kills Nathir and Fareed, and tells an enraged Omar that by targeting innocents they betrayed Islam. Samir then tells Omar that he switched the bombers' emails and he placed them all on the same bus so all of them died without victims (except for the driver of the one bus). The Canadian police and the FBI break in, killing Omar and injuring Samir.
Later, underneath the 'L' in Chicago, Samir tells Agent Clayton he feels guilty for killing innocent people, and that the Qur'an says that to kill an innocent person is to kill all mankind. Clayton responds by noting that the Qur'an also says that by saving an innocent person, he has saved all mankind, and tells Samir he is a hero.Don Cheadle as Samir Horn
Guy Pearce as Agent Roy Clayton
Saïd Taghmaoui as Omar
Neal McDonough as Max Archer
Jeff Daniels as Carter
Archie Panjabi as Chandra Dawkin
Mozhan Marnò as Leyla
Lorena Gale as Dierdre Horn
Alyy Khan as Fareed
The project had been in development since 2002, and was originally set to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures (through Touchstone Pictures), but was dropped owing to management change. It was picked up by Overture Films. Principal photography started in early September, 2007, in Toronto, Marseille and Marrakesh.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 63% of critics gave positive reviews based on 166 reviews, with the summary, "Despite another reliable performance from Don Cheadle, Traitor suffers from too many cliches and an unfocused narrative." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave the film a 60/100 approval rating based on 29 reviews.
Cheadle's performance was praised. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four and wrote in his review, "The movie proceeds quickly, seems to know its subject matter, is fascinating in its portrait of the inner politics and structure of the terrorist group, and comes uncomfortably close to reality. But what holds it together is the Cheadle character."
The film opened #5 with $7 million on its opening weekend. As of November 23, the film has grossed $23.5 million in Canada and the United States and $2.2 million in other markets, including $800,000 in Australia, for a total $27.6 million worldwide.
Anwar, a 2010 Malayalam Indian film was an uncredited remake of Traitor.