"Infidel" a solid thriller

Claudia Karvan (left) and Jim Caviezel appear in a scene from "Infidel."

“Infidel” is clunky at times and a bit heavy-handed, but it manages to find its footing in the second half. The result is a thriller that definitely could have been better but is still good enough to be worth your time.

Jim Caviezel stars as Doug, a Christian blogger who causes a stir when he openly discusses his faith during an interview in Cairo. Doug is later kidnapped at his hotel by the Iranian regime and whisked away to the Middle East, where he is beaten, tortured and placed on trial on erroneous charges of being a spy.

As Doug’s situation worsens, his wife, Liz (Claudia Karvan), who works for the State Department, continues to reach out to the American government to get involved and save her husband.

But she comes to realize the U.S. government has no intentions of rescuing Doug, forcing Liz to head to the Middle East to search for her husband.

“Infidel” was written and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh. His final product is a bit uneven with the first half of “Infidel” more about the film’s message than the characters and their situations. Every film has an agenda, but for a while “Infidel” seems to be more about its message and less about the story.

“Infidel” picks up once Doug is captured, with Caviezel a believable everyman trying to make the best of a dire situation.

“Infidel” really takes off in the second half when Liz heads to help her husband, allowing Karvan to take center stage. Her performance is so compelling that you could make an argument one of the film’s biggest missteps was telling the story from Doug’s point of view and not Liz’s.

This is a woman who doesn’t have the same faith as her husband and watches helplessly as the people she works for do nothing to save the man she loves. Karvan brings Liz’s desperation and determination to the screen quite well – providing “Infidel” with a much-needed lift that shifts the film from a disappointing stumble to a solid thriller that works within its own limitations.

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