The Citizen

08/29/2015 21:20

Film: The Citizen

Year: 2012

Director: Sam Kadi

Writer: Jazmen Darnell Brown and Samir Younis

Starring: Khaled Nabawy, Agnes Bruckner and Rizwan Manji



This film begins in a courtroom. A man is on the witness stand, played by Khaled Nabawy. He is being cross-examined by William Atherton. Nabawy asks him to repeat the question and then we shift. We see Nabawy as he comes to America. He is from the Middle-East and he usually is unlucky. He has won a green card through a lottery. He is asked why he came to America and what he plans on doing. The customs agent is alarmed when Nabawy is asked to get his cousin who is supposed to be picking up and he is not there. Nabawy lies and checks into a cheap hotel.

While he is checking in, he sees Agnes Bruckner. She goes up to a different room where her boyfriend is doing drugs. When he snaps and tries to attack her, she finds refuge in Nabawy’s room. They end up hitting it off and she takes him on a tour of the sites in New York City. Something of note, they find an Anti-Bush rally. Nabawy is shocked they are speaking out against him, but he joins in and films it.

The next day the 9/11 attacks happen. Nabawy goes out and meets Rizwan Manji in his store. Manji is panicked because his brother is in the World Trade Center and believes he is dead. He kicks everyone out of his store except Nabawy. Manji is negative, having seen how America works for years while Nabawy is still optimistic. An angry man breaks the window of the store, because of his race.

The next day some NSA agents bust into Nabawy’s hotel. He is taken into custody. Bruckner tries to find him, but no one will give her information. He is kept in custody for six months. He is then just released. After he gets out, he seeks out Bruckner. She took his things from his hotel and she allows him to stay with her. Nabawy then hits the ground running and looks for a job.

The first issue he runs into is that it is a bad economy and no one is hiring. One day, they go to a gas station. Bruckner goes inside to get a drink and Manji is working. He ends up offering a job to Nabawy. He takes sometime, but he does catch on to the job. Nabawy does take a class to learn English better, but he does speak pretty good English to begin with. While going there, he meets a pretty Middle-Eastern woman. They develop a friendship.

One day while going to work, Nabawy meets Brian Edward Marable. He is homeless and asks for money. Manji runs him off. Nabawy when he takes his lunch gives Marable a slice of pizza. We learn that Marable had a career, but due to drinking and gambling he lost it all. Nabawy believes in doing good deeds, because they will pay it back to you. He takes Marable home and will help him get a job.

Bruckner does not like this. This causes fights between the two of them. Around this time we see that Manji is not happy. His brother did survive the attack, but Manji does not make time to see him. One night, Nabawy goes out on a date. As he leaves the store, Manji is held up and attacked. Manji decides after this he is going to sell the gas station. To make it even worse, Marable steals things from the apartment and Bruckner kicks Nabawy out.

Nabawy is walking and sees a man attacked by a group of white supremacists for being Jewish; he is played by Cole Corey. Nabawy steps in and helps him, with both of them ending up in the hospital. Nabawy was trying to find a job as a car salesman, but being Middle-Eastern, no one will hire him. After helping Corey, Nabawy gets news coverage and Corey asks his dad, who is played by Dennis North, to give him a job. Buckner also lets him come back and live with her.

Nabawy begins the process of becoming a citizen, but he gets a letter that he is being deported. The government thinks he has connection to terrorists. All the good deeds he has done come full-circle. North gets Nabawy in touch with a really good lawyer, who is played by Cary Elwes. He takes the case pro-bono.

Will Nabawy win the case or will he be deported? Will he get his citizenship or is the American dream something for only those who are born here?

I have to say that Nabawy was fantastic in this film. I had not seen him in anything and I was very impressed. He seemed genuine, great outlook on life and no matter what happens to him, he bounces back. There was a human moment where he wanted to give up, but he finds the silver lining. The rest of the cast round it out and supplement Nabawy very well. The story is great, but it is also very disturbing. This film didn’t get a lot of circulation, but has a great message.

One issue I had with this film is that it does have a corny feel for the most part. It was sad and depressing at the lowest point, but I did feel great for him at the end. I was also disgusted how bad Americans were at this time. As a Caucasian American, I could understand the fear they experienced, but it is embarrassing that we accuse and assume before we have facts.

This is being included in the horror film research, because it is horrible how he and other Middle-Eastern people are treated. For the most part, this has been done to all minorities and it is disgusting. It is a scary feeling to have no rights and no way to really defend yourself when there are so many that hate you and want to keep you in your place.

I would recommend seeing this film. It is a great inspirational film of someone against all odds trying to better themselves. There is some really good acting from Nabawy, Bruckner, Manji and the other major characters from the film. The story is solid also. This is film will make you think and consider how you think about those who are different. We have our own thoughts and prejudices, but it doesn’t make them right. I would say give this a viewing if this sounds good. It makes you think of the changes that should be made in our country as well, all for the better.


My Rating: 7 out of 10