The Kingdom alternative ending revealed
When I watched The Kingdom (Filmstalker review) from Peter Berg originally, I did think that there were a few moments where there might have been an alternative ending, and how the Director is telling us exactly what the original script had suggested.
From what it seems the original Matthew Michael Carnahan scripted ending would have been much darker and less politicised than the current one. This seemed intended more for a terror ending than a complex, thoughtful one.
According to his audio commentary on the DVD version of The Kingdom (Filmstalker review), Peter Berg tells us that Matthew Michael Carnahan had written a much darker ending. Now if you are going to see the film as it stands then I would avoid what I'm about to say because this will reveal how the film currently ends.
Okay, all those that want to see The Kingdom without knowing the end have cleared out? I shall begin.
Rope of Silicon saw the DVD and have written up Berg's comments, which basically go something like this:
The original film sees the Saudi General believing that one of their officers, Sergeant Haytham, to have had a part in the bombing. However he is cleared and later goes on to work closely with the FBI team to uncover the real bomber.
After they have found the bomber and the FBI team are heading to their plane, Sergeant Haytham is shaking each of their hands and thanking them for the work they've done. As the lead FBI agent, played by Jamie Foxx, hugs the man he feels something around him underneath his clothes, a bomb.
Sergeant Haytham then hits the detonator and kills the entire American team.
Peter Berg said that they thought this ending was just too much for the audience to take and that there would be no recovering from it. He's definitely right.
This is more than a bleaker, darker ending, it's almost nonsensical with the rest of the film as it turned out. I would have thought that this original scripted version would show more conflict and connection between Sergeant Haytham and those carrying out the bombings, as the current film works hard to bring him and the American team together.
With this ending in place it would seem like the character just made a complete turn, and all the work that the film has done to try and show some understanding of each of the sides involved would be undone in a few seconds, for there seems no reason at all for Sergeant Haytham to detonate the bomb.
In a way this would return the characters to the right side of the Americans and the fundamental, evil and unpredictable fundamentalists. It shows that there's no way for us to overcome them, to change attitudes, to bring us together.
So I'm glad that the film didn't end this way. It would have been more than bleak, and it would have harmed the way the film tries to give it's message.