Instead of relying on "The Kingdom" as a poltical comment about the Iraq war, director Peter Berg chooses to deliver a pretty good film set in a war-affected area.
A terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Saudi Arabia, sparking an international incident. As politicians debate matters, FBI Agent Ronald quickly assembles an elite team and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madman behind the bombing. Upon landing in the desert kingdom, however, Roland and his team find the Saudi leaders are not welcome to the Americans or their involvement.
Roland finds they're unable to do much within the strict protocol of their hosts, more so when you figure they only have five days to do it. Roland manages to find a partner in a local military Colonel, and the search is on.
Things keep moving darn near from the first blast to the arrival back home in America by Roland and his team. They also manage to work in a CSI-esque element of FBI Agent Janet Mayers (Jennifer Garner), who seems to spent more than a few minutes up to her elbows in evidence and gore.
There's still a war going on, and it's not pretty. The film doesn't candy coat it, either; people die, it's messy, and it seems a bit dark around the edges. Seemingly like the political climate of that region, the plot isn't watered down just in the interest of being understood. They instead prefer to present the plot and story in a gritty, basic way, and it doesn't have a tidy little ending. By and large, folks go back to their homes and lives, but there remains a basic question about who's really in the right.
Politics aside, a good film, and worth the price of admission. Literally.