Release Date: May 04, 2007
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing
Director: Jeff Renfroe
Executive Producer: Eli Rothman and Vic Sarin
Writer: Andrew Joiner
Address Comments To:Mark Borde, Mike Doban and Susan Jackson
506 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 210
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 656-6333
Fax: (310) 656-6333
After losing his job as an accountant, Terry spends most of his time in front of the television watching news report after news report about the latest updates in the War on Terror and the latest Terror Alert Level. After Gabe, an Arab-American grad student, moves into the apartment next door, Terry begins to notice some strange behavior from the new tenant. Terry’s wife brushes off his delusions and accuses him of acting just like those, “Right wing nut jobs,” but Terry is not deterred. After some of his own preliminary investigating, Terry contacts the FBI.
Frustrated by the FBI’s lack of concern, Terry takes matters into his own hands. His curiosity soon turns to obsession. He breaks into the apartment and notices some strange-looking lab equipment, boxes full of ATM envelopes and financial statements that show that Gabe is receiving monthly payments from an Islamic group. Driven to take vigilante action, Terry takes Gabe hostage at gunpoint in order to stop whatever vicious attack he thinks is about to take place. Gabe offers logical explanations to Terry for all the suspicious materials in the apartment, but Terry does not believe him. Tensions come to a head when a SWAT team, along with the FBI, surrounds the apartment. Terry is forced to determine if his actions are patriotic or paranoid.
CIVIC DUTY is a well-scripted, well-directed thriller. The director creates a tense environment for the story, and the editing gives the movie a frantic feeling of psychological displacement. For a small-budget movie with a mostly unknown cast, CIVIC DUTY proves that strong stories do not need huge Hollywood budgets and special effects with A-list stars.
The movie contains some cautionary and excessive moral and worldview elements, namely the continued Hollywood love affair with both anti-Americanism as well as pro-Islamic ideologies. As Terry says, in a Post-9/11 America, “we all need to be the eyes and ears now,” there is a villainous tone that eventually establishes Terry as the bigoted, closed-minded anti-hero of the movie.
In contrast, Gabe, the Arab-American who is portrayed as being a recluse who fits the stereotype of an Islamic fundamentalist, takes the role of the poor victim in this politically charged thriller. As Terry holds Gabe hostage, Gabe states that Evil is not defined as a man who wants revenge for his wife who was killed by a U.S. tomahawk missile, Evil is what America has done in “many places like Vietnam, Somalia,” etc. What a shame that filmmakers use their freedom of speech to desecrate the very name of the country that provided those freedoms.
The anti-American and pro-Islamic political elements, along with the movie’s strong foul language and miscellaneous immorality, earn CIVIC DUTY an abhorrent rating.
Despite an open-ended ending, CIVIC DUTY establishes Terry as bigoted and closed-minded. As Terry holds Gabe hostage, Gabe states that Evil is not defined as a man who wants revenge for his wife who was killed by a U.S. tomahawk missile, Evil is what America has done in “many places like Vietnam, Somalia,” etc. Thus, CIVIC DUTY takes a politically correct, anti-American tone that is abhorrent. It also contains very strong foul language.