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EN100 English Composition- Dystopian Views of the Movie The Kingdom

In our film selections, we viewed scenarios where things have gone wrong. although a cinematic representation of extreme Dystopias, there were many social, political, religious, sexual, environmental and economic symbols throughout the film related to our current state of affairs. What is the connection? Things have changed in regards to security, our economy and the political climate worldwide. Use your critical thinking to react and respond to these issues and to issues depicted in these films.


Dystopian views of the movie “The Kingdom”

The opposite of a future that is perfect and ideal is one in which the opposite occurs. Such an ideal that is perfect is known as a utopia while the opposite is referred to as a dystopia. Dystopias appeal to the inner child within each one of us in its captivating albeit far-fetched descriptive that may be apocalyptic. It awakens us to the reality of what the future may look like and makes the criticism about the current social systems and norms. Three dystopian views of terrorism, totalitarianism, and religious intolerance appear in the above movie.

xt-align: justify;">Terrorism: Terrorism appears in the movie as the main theme right from the beginning to the end. It starts with the killings and bombings at the site where American employees working for an oil company live (The Kingdom 2007).The movie also ends with the scene where further acts of violence in terms of internal terrorism are perpetrated. While most people always assume that terrorism involves foreign actors coming to perpetrate acts of violence on foreign soil, this movie is a wake-up call that in the future, terrorism will live in our midst.

The film portends that terrorism in the future will be faceless and will be based on personal beliefs based on religious ideology. They will operate as small secretive cells. The future lack of certainty as to where the cells operate may call for limiting civil liberties in the society (Baruh and Baybars-Hawks 31). This is because terrorism is constantly shifting and changing. This may be the pretext to control the masses on the false premises that it is for their own good (Anders 2011). This is a frightening reality for us all.  

Totalitarianism: The film paints a picture that will be totalitarian in authority. The Saudi ruling family comes across as being totalitarian with a firm grip on power. This is intended to control the masses, the oil and the power that they wield. Most governments are totalitarian and work on the same underlying principles as the Saudi monarchy. Frigerio (2007), states that the current social inequalities and weak democracies are the fertile ground for future totalitarian nations.

The government of the future will be led by a bureaucratic control that is mindless and follows orders blindly. From the film, regulations that are endless as well as red tape, will be more common. Incompetence will also be part of this bureaucracy. The bureaucrats and the citizenry will be expected to show total reverence and submission to the figure-head in power. Independent thought will be perceived to be dangerous as conformity will the order of the day in the future.  Prakash et al. (2), state that the future will have false premises of utopia within the dystopia that is implied.

Religious intolerance: This film paints a future where there will be increased religious intolerance. This is vividly presented in the scene where one FBI agent is trying to examine the body of a Muslim terrorist. The mortician vehemently refuses her to touch the dead body as it is “haram” or illegal according to Islam. The possibility of an Islamic dystopia is very real. This is based on the premise that the whole world is full of infidels or unbelievers who need to be converted by any means necessary. It is plausible that the Islamic world will arise on a jihad to convert the rest of the world based on Islamic dystopia.

The future may also experience dystopia on religion that is based on secular millenniarism that seeks to eliminate the opium of the masses (Claeys 109).This will be with the view to reduce differences based on religion that underpins the morality to persecute divergent religious views. Within the current global perspectives, ISIS has risen to fight as a Sunni outfit and seeks to establish the strict protocols of Wahabism. It persecutes minority religions in the areas under its control. This also includes Shia Muslims.  Thus the future society will be one in which religion will be critical in determining our safety and the locale we chose to live and work.

The film manages to awaken the viewer to the reality that the future may portend religious intolerance, totalitarianism, and terrorism. We face the real danger that the society will offer less freedom and increased oppression. The danger in the future is in the double jeopardy of religious intolerance that forms the seeds for terrorism. The seeds for future violence have already been planted in our midst. Thus this movie is a wake-up call for the current society to take action that will prevent this scenario becoming a reality.

Works Cited

Anders, Charlie J. “10 Terrorism Storylines we never want to see again.” Gizmodo, 2011, Accessed 20 October 2017

Baruh, Lemi and Banu Baybars-Hawks. If It Was Not for Terrorism : Crisis, Compromise and Elite Discourse in the Age of 'War on Terror'. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. EBSCOhost,

Claeys, Gregory. Dystopia. A Natural History. Corby: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Frigerio, Alberto. “On the verge of the Darkness: Dystopic Movies and Contemporary Global Challenges.” E-International Relations, 2017, Accessed 20 October 2017

Prakash, Gyan, et al. Utopia/Dystopia : Conditions of Historical Possibility. Princeton University Press, 2010. EBSCOhost,

The Kingdom. Dir. Peter Berg. Universal Pictures, 2007. Film.

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