Angry and depressed over losing his job, accountant Terry Allen begins to suspect his new neighbor, a single Islamic grad student with a penchant for unexplained late night activities, is at the center of a terrorist conspiracy. Although both Terry's wife and the FBI agent to whom he reports his suspicions are skeptical about his fears, Terry becomes increasingly obsessed with uncovering the man's true identity. Convinced he's all that stands between this Middle-Eastern stranger and a deadly terror attack, Terry finally decides to take matters into his own hands - with shocking results.
A tense psychological thriller in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock
's Rear Window
, Civic Duty
takes a controversial look at fear and prejudice in the highly charged atmosphere of post-9/11 America. Set during a unique and frightening moment in U.S. history, as the nation grappled with setting the proper balance between personal freedom and enhanced security, Civic Duty challenges viewers to examine their own preconceptions about tolerance and terror. Directed by Jeff Renfroe from an original screenplay by Andrew Joiner, Civic Duty
stars Peter Krause
("Six Feet Under
"), Richard Schiff
("The West Wing
"), Kari Matchett
") and Egyptian movie idol Khaled Abol Naga in his American screen debut. The film is produced by Andrew Lanter, Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Peter Krause and Andrew Joiner. Eli Rothnman, Kelly Dunacn, David Boim and Vic Sarin are the executive producer.
After accountant Terry Allen (Peter Krause) is laid off from his most recent job, he finds himself whiling away the hours watching round-the-clock news reports about on America's "War on Terror." Soon he begins to notice unusual goings-on in an apartment across the courtyard where the new tenant, Gabe Hassan (Khaled Abol Naga), is hosting late night gatherings for other young, apparently Middle Eastern men and surreptitiously taking out his trash in the wee hours of the morning. Reinforced by the endless TV images and sound bites about threat levels and terrorist plots, Terry begins to believe he has uncovered a sleeper cell in his own backyard.
When he confides his suspicions to his wife Marla (Kari Matchett), she brushes them aside saying he should focus his energies on finding a job so they can get a mortgage on the house they're hoping to buy. But as his employment opportunities evaporate, Terry begins stalking Gabe and going through his garbage to gather evidence to bolster his conspiracy theory. He goes as far as to report his findings to an FBI agent (Richard Schiff), who appears not to take his contentions seriously.
As Terry's obsession with Gabe spins further out of control it eventually drives Marla out of their home. Convinced of the growing danger posed by his neighbor, Terry enters Gabe's empty apartment only to find unfamiliar laboratory equipment in the kitchen. He also discovers an inexplicable cache of ATM deposit envelopes and financial records indicating Gabe is receiving monthly payments from an Islamic group.
Positive that a dangerous plot is about to be carried out, Terry confronts Gabe at gunpoint and demands to know who he is working for. While Gabe has a plausible explanation for each of his interrogator's questions, the answers just don't add up for Terry. When a SWAT team surrounds the apartment forcing a dangerous standoff, Terry realizes time is running out and he must determine if his actions are being driven by patriotism or paranoia.
Some Statistics Regarding Terrorism
" 87% of the FBI's Top Most Wanted Terrorist List is Middle-Eastern (FBI's Official Website)
" The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base has documented terrorist activity since 1968 (MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base)
" The 1995 terrorist death toll holds the record with 95% of terrorist-related US deaths since 1968 (MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base)
" As of 2002 The Emergency Response and Research Institute had identified 60 known terrorist groups active in the US
" According to the FBI: Our counterterrorism investigations have more than doubled since 9/11. (Washington Times)
" Syracuse University reports that two of every three international terrorism cases brought to federal investigators by the FBI are declined due to weak and lack of sufficient evidence
" The National Counterterrorism Center reports that every morning there are 60 to 70 new terrorist reports to deal with. The list gets whittled down to 10 to 20 of the most prominent and those leads are followed
" The Washington Times reports silent army of terrorists, including members of al Qaeda, has the "capability and conviction" to support devastating attacks across North America, operating out of "sleeper cells" from Montreal to Vancouver, according to U.S. and Canadian law-enforcement authorities.
" The Washington Times reports that 15 known terrorists have been arrested entering the United States from Canada since 1995.
" The Washington Times reports between 2,000 and 5,000 terrorist operatives are said to be in the United States, many of whom are hiding in ethnic communities throughout the country, populated by millions of foreign immigrants, including illegal aliens for which the U.S. government cannot account.
" The Washington Times reports that Stretching from [Washington] to Port Angeles, agents and inspectors along the border said once illegal aliens cross through the so-called "border region" - an area extending about 60 miles into the United States - little effort is made to identify who they are, to check where they've gone or to round them up.
" The Washington Times reports that Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, vigorously has called for increased interior enforcement, noting that 300,000 aliens in the United States - 6,000 from countries that support terrorism - have been ordered deported but have yet to be processed or located.