Beirut looked intriguing to me because the always dapper Jon Hamm was finally given the main lead in a serious film. He has always been likable in every role that I have seen him. Of course, his boost to stardom was in the leading part in the Mad Men (2007-2015) series.
The film is about a hostage situation that summons a former U.S. diplomat back to war-torn Beirut in an attempt to save his old friend.
The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and the noteworthy cast includes Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Mark Pellegrino, Dean Norris, Shea Whigam, Douglas Hodge, Larry Pine, Ben Affan, and Mohamed Attougui.
The filmmakers did a superb job creating a believable Beirut in 1982 and thereafter. The not-so-peaceful Middle East was very apparent in the movie. There was a sort of gloomy undertone to the film and this gave the movie a much darker feel to it.
It was nice to see Jon Hamm in a leading role carrying a film. He brought a level of class and finesse to his character that made the movie exciting, where it otherwise may have lacked with someone else playing his part.
Rosamund Pike did a good job in the movie. However, I felt like her character could have been developed better. She is a strong actress, but this film did not allow her a strong presence. I felt like her performance in Hostiles (2017) and Gone Girl (2014) were far better than her performance in Beirut because she was able to give those other characters more substance.
Beirut is not a movie that you are going to want to watch over and over again because of the subject matter. However, it is a well-made, above average film that is worth the watch.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
American Sniper (2014)
The Kite Runner (2007)
No Escape (2015)
American Assassin (2017)
The Call (2013)
Before watching this film, I had assumed that it was rated PG-13. After watching the movie, I’m a little surprised that it was actually rated R. If it had been tweaked ever so slightly, I think that it probably could have gotten the PG-13 rating. I’m a little surprised that they would not have wanted to attract more of the teenage audience to this movie. It seems like so many other films these days go for that lighter rating to try to get the teeny boppers into the seats. Quite honestly, after learning of the rating right before the movie started, it actually made me raise my expectations of the quality of the film because of the genre.
The Call is a thriller about a 911 operator (Halle Berry) that makes a careless mistake while on an emergency phone call that causes the situation to end badly. Consumed by guilt and anxiety, she struggles to hold it together in order to perform her job. Time passes and one day the operator takes a call from a girl that has been kidnapped (Abigail Breslin). Determined not to make the same mistake again, the operator does everything in her power to try to help the girl on the other end of the line. She soon realizes that there is a link between the 2 emergency calls.
I held off from seeing this movie in theatres because I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my time. I can usually give or take Berry. Breslin is a talented young actress, but the movie looked a little B-rated. What sparked my interest however, was Anderson’s involvement. He has shown us that he is capable of excellence with his film The Machinist (2004). With that being said, even though The Call looked questionable, I knew that it would at least be well-made.
The film did not allow for much character development. It was not the type of movie that required quality acting. Anderson makes up for this with quality filmmaking. The events that occur in the film were made intense enough to keep my attention throughout. The soundtrack helps to make the movie seem more fast-paced than it really is. Because the film is kept at a relatively fast pace for its entirety, it helps you to forgive and forget the aspects of the movie that are lacking. Bravo to the director for knowing what was necessary to make this B-rated film watch-able.
The film is a little predictable, but it will still suck you in.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
The Machinist (2004)
Before he played Batman, Christian Bale turned into a character named Trent Reznik in The Machinist. Reznik is an insomniac who has not slept in a year. His body begins withering away. His mind begins to deteriorate. He is so exhausted that he becomes delusional and paranoid. Eventually his symptoms cause an incident at work that sets off a chain reaction that sends his life spiraling out of control as he loses grip on reality. He becomes a man tormented by his own mind.
The Machinist is brilliant. The plot has so many twists and turns that will keep you entranced and guessing until the conclusion sneaks up on you.
9 years after watching this movie for the very first time, it’s still just as potent as ever. That is a symptom of excellence. It never gets old.
Christian Bale appears like he went through hell preparing for his role as Reznik. He went from being in close to perfect shape to looking like death. He was so bony that he literally appeared like he could drop dead of starvation at any moment.
Shortly after seen this movie for the first time, I remember reading that Bale lived off of nonfat lattes, green apples, and cigarettes. That was his diet. It was basically all that he ate for weeks. I think it’s incredible how his body went from one extreme to another. To top it all off, shortly after The Machinist, he got into even better shape than he was prior to filming The Machinist, in order to become Batman. Talk about a man dedicated to his work. His devotion to his character helped to turn this movie into a masterpiece.
The Machinist is pretty warped. The film will mess with your mind in its own unique sort of way. Prepare to be puzzled. This is filmmaking at its best.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? BUY!
If you liked The Machinist, then you will probably enjoy the following films: