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Beirut (2018)


Beirut (2018)

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:

 

12 Strong (2018)

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

The Kite Runner (2007)

Chappaquiddick (2017)

The Post (2017)

Lincoln (2012)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Darkest Hour (2017)

No Escape (2015)

American Assassin (2017)

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Darkest Hour (2017)


Darkest Hour (2017)

I have to admit that prior to seeing this film, my history knowledge of Winston Churchill was a little fuzzy.

Gary Oldman is a wizard when it comes to his ability to become whoever he is supposed to be portraying on screen.  I became more interested in seeing Darkest Hour after I found out that Oldman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, even though I am fed up with the Academy Awards.

Darkest Hour is based on the true story of when British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler when all of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazis in 1940.

The movie was directed by Joe Wright and the noteworthy cast includes Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, and David Strathairn.

Gary Oldman successfully transformed into Winston Churchill.  He was a mumbling, bumbling, blabbering, grumpy old man.  It is hard to believe that anyone else could have done half as good a job as he did in his role.

The U.K. in the 1940s was duplicated convincingly and artistically in Darkest Hour.  Watching the movie, it was very easy to be pulled into that time and place.  It was as if you were there witnessing Winston Churchill make history.

It is always interesting to me how movies with similar subjects get made around the same time.  It is no accident that Dunkirk (2017) came out the same year as Darkest Hour.  Hollywood likes to capitalize on one concept by showcasing similar movies in the same year.  I guess that they assume that if one movie does well, everyone will be curious about the other movie of the same type and will go to see it while the idea is still fresh.

Darkest Hour is about what is going on behind the scenes while Dunkirk is happening.  In this case, the two movies do make good companion pieces to each other.

The problem with Darkest Hour is that everyone in the movie besides Gary Oldman felt like an afterthought.  His character development improved as the movie went on, but there was not much care placed on the other characters.

The other main thing that was wrong with the film is that it just felt like it took way too long to make its point.  It probably could have been 30 minutes shorter.  I think that this would have made it more enjoyable.

It felt historically accurate and Oldman’s performance was superb.  Without him, this movie would have really struggled.

The film felt a little bit like The King’s Speech (2010).  This is not one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again.  It was tasteful and informative, but I will be OK with only seeing it once.

Darkest Hour is a well put together World War II period piece.  It is a good depiction of some historical events, however it is overly drawn out and therefore falls a little short.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Dunkirk (2017)

The King’s Speech (2010)

Lincoln (2012)

Leon: The Professional (1994)

True Romance (1993)

Schindler’s List (1993)

The Pianist (2002)

The Imitation Game (2014)

The Aviator (2004)

Cinderella Man (2005)

J. Edgar (2011)