Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a rescue helicopter pilot, a father and most recently a divorcee. His ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) just moved in with Emma’s new boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffud) and anyway, Blake is about to move to college. But when the biggest earthquake in recent history hits the west coast, it becomes Ray’s only mission to save his family against all odds, even if said family is much less helpless than one might think.
[SPOILERS, at least if you can’t guess the plot from other movies of the same ilk]
On the surface San Andreas is pretty standard fare: as the world falls apart, the heroic dad saves his family and thus wins back his ex-wife (whose new boyfriend is an idiot anyway). And I wouldn’t blame anybody if they decided to leave it at that, throw their hands up in exasperation and maybe avoid the film altogether. But personally I thought that there was a little more to the film than appeared at first. Also, the special effects were really cool.
Shortly after Mahmud’s (Omid Djalili) mother dies, he – a not particularly devout but believing muslim, well-integrated into the local muslim community – finds out that he was adopted. Not only that, Mahmud was born Jewish. That discovery throws him into a bit of an identity crisis, especially when the local rabbi (Matt Lucas) refuses that he can see his natural father before he has learned at least the basics of Judaism. So Mahmud swallows his antisemitic tendencies and enlists the help of cabby Lenny (Richard Schiff) to teach him. And as if that wasn’t enough, at the same time Mahmud’s son Rashid (Amit Shah) and the entire family have to appear particularly devout so that Rashid’s fiancée’s stepdad Arshad (Yigal Naor), an extremely conservative religious leader, gives his consent to their marriage.
I really enjoyed The Infidel. The film manages to treat religion respectfully but not be so awestruck that you can’t point out religious shortcomings – a rather difficult tightrope walk. But above all, it is funny, very well written and has an excellent cast.