14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Drew from Oregon
- Published on Amazon.com
This review does contain spoilers!
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this film to review. Day of the Falcon is a "well-oiled machine" that moves along fairly fast given the 130 minute run time. Within this movie, you can expect to see some romance, action, betrayal, and violence. This movie pretty much gives you all the drama you crave and can handle.
Day of the Falcon takes place in the early 20th Century in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, which are divided by feuding tribes and where there is basically no loyalty. It starts out with a meeting between two tribe leaders, Emir Nesib (Antonio Banderas) and Sultan Amar (Mark Strong) making peace after a battle between the two, which Nesib won. Nesib has Sultan hand over his two sons, Auda and Saleh, to make sure he will not battle against him again and they both promised the area of that land would not be claimed by either tribe.
The film then progresses in time and an American named, Thurkettle, shows up on an airplane. Thurkettle works for Texan Oil and he meets with Nesib to tell him there could be a lot of oil on the unclaimed land and this could make him rich. Nesib thinks about it and let's them drill and, sure enough, they find oil on the land. After finding oil, they make an oil field in that area and Nesib gets rich. Sultan objects to this because Nesib is basically breaking the truce they made at the beginning of the film. As Nesib is getting rich, he starts to improve his tribe, or kingdom, by making schools, a library, and even bringing electricity to the area. Prince Auda, who was raised by Nesib and not his real father, was forced to marry Nesib's daughter, Princess Leyla (Freida Pinto).
Within the battle scenes, or when the action begins to pick up over an hour into the film, you will see many dead camels and dead people as well. These battle scenes are pretty well done and keep you at the edge of your seat the whole time. There is, however, a bit of a disappointment with the final battle scene because it wasn't as "grand" as one would expect. I was expecting a longer battle scene, but this one seemed to be a little too short and quick. In my opinion, it could have been better as this was, for me, the climax of the whole movie.
Overall, Day of the Falcon was an enjoyable movie. Like I stated before, it seemed to move along pretty fast given the runtime, in fact, that last battle scene may have been a bit too fast, but given the battle scenes throughout, it is one small aspect one can look over. There was even a bit of comedy in this movie as well where Nesib makes improvements to his kingdom, although I don't believe this movie was intended to be a comedy. If you appreciate a movie with drama, romance, and violence, then this movie is for you and must be watched. I would recommend this movie for anybody's movie collection. Overall, this movie isn't perfect, but I still give it a 4/5 star rating.
Day of the Falcon will be available to purchase in stores on DVD and Blu-ray March 26th, 2013!
Overall rating: 4/5 stars
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Imagine my surprise when this past weekend, out of the blue, this movie appeared (on a single screen) in the theatre here in Cincinnati, almost a year and a half after it was first released in Europe. I figured this would not be playing very long, and went ahead and saw it.
"Day of the Falcon" (2011 release from France/Qatar; 130 min.) is also known as "Black Gold" in certain markets. The epic desert-and-oil story is set in the 1930s in a fictional Middle East area where two tribes are dealing differently with the unexpected windfalls of crude oil discoveries. As the movie opens, we see how, in order to preserve peace, the Amar tribe leader sends off his two young sons to live with the rival Nesib tribe leader, with an additional agreed "no-man's land" area called the Yellow Belt between the two tribes. Skip 15 years forward and we now see the sons are grown men, and a Texas oil company strikes it big in the Yellow Belt and approaches the two rivaling tribes. The Nesib tribe decides to work with Big Oil while the Amar tribe rejects it out of ideological/religious considerations. Will the two tribes fight it out? Will the two sons eventually return to their original tribe? To tell you much more of this plot-heavy movie would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: first and foremost, the main reason I was interested in seeing the movie is because of its director Jean-Jacques Annaud, veteran of a number of great movies (none more so than "Quest of Fire" from the 1980s). Second, this movie is a French-Qatar co-production, with most of the financing from the Doha Film Institute. Why is this releveant? A number of elements in the movie feel more "Arabian" than French (such as: complete modesty in showing women and when filming love scenes). Third, the feel of this movie is one of 'big production' all the way, with elaborate staging throughout, including a number of the desert fighting scenes which are quite impressive. The producers also enlisted a big name, James Horner, for the soundtrack (which is quite lovely). Last but, alas, not least: while the movie oozes ambition from start to finish, it falls short in character development and I rarely felt emotionally invested while watching this. Given Annaud's footprint, this came as a surprise and disappointment to me. Incidentaly, the screening where I saw this movie here in Cincinnati this past weekend was very poorly attended (only one other person besides myself) so I am quite sure this will not stick around long. Bottom line: while this is not a bad movie per se, ultimately the movie's grand ambitions are not realized and the end result is simply uneven.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Michael B. Druxman
- Published on Amazon.com
DAY OF THE FALCON is an old-fashioned action/adventure epic that evokes memories of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, the film is set in the Middle East during the early part of the twentieth century when oil is discovered in a "no man's land" that divides two warring tribes. The forward-thinking ruler of one tribe (Antonio Banderas) embraces the finding, realizing that the accompanying wealth can help his people, while the other sultan (Mark Strong) despises any influence from the outside, modern world, claiming that such amenities are against the Koran. War is re-ignited, and the principal player in the conflict turns out to be the studious son of Strong (Tahar Rahim), who is now also the son-in-law of Banderas, having married his daughter, played by Freida Pinto.
DAY OF THE FALCON is a handsome, well-directed picture, filled with exciting action sequences and beautifully photographed desert vistas. The story is certainly involving, and the actors are more than equal to their roles. It is a movie well worth seeing.
Question: If this picture is so good, why did it not get any sort of meaningful release in the United States where it virtually went direct-to-video?
Possibly for two reasons:
First, the producers, in an effort not to offend anybody, took a middle-of-the-road approach to the material. Are we, as an audience, supposed to be cheering for Bandaras, who wants to bring his people into the modern world, or should our sympathies lie with the more traditional Strong? Even when Rahim starts leading his father's military, we are not sure as to where his true loyalties lie.
Secondly, although I understand the producer's reasons for wanting to cast Arab actors, I think that, in order to attract a worldwide audience, this is a movie that required internationally known stars.
Don't misunderstand. The actors in the picture are all very good, but with the exception of Bandaras, none of them are really that well-known, and none of them generate an on-screen excitement that a high budget film like this requires in order to pull in audiences.
True, when they made LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif were also unknown quantities, but the producers of that classic surrounded them with a sensational cast of supporting players that included Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quayle, Jose Ferrer and Arthur Kennedy.
DAY OF THE FALCON could have used some of that star quality.
The DVD from Image Entertainment includes three excellent "making of" featurettes, one of which describes how the cast and crew fared shooting in Tunisia while a government coup was in progress.
© Michael B. Druxman
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The movie portrays an important time in the Arabian Desert when fighting factions and tribes finally understand that the oil beneath the hot sand was a literal gold mine. At first they rejected the idea of losing their culture, but as we know their culture endured the lasting effects of finding oil.
But this movie is more than that. It is about a deep love, a grasp to keep loyalty, and a saga about honor, tradition and ultimately death. A great movie always endures and it is a shame it is not playing the many theaters in this county.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Movie Guy
- Published on Amazon.com
This is the story of how the Arab tribes became united by war, to become Saudi Arabia. Antonio Banderas stars as Emir Nesib who bartered a deal with the United States for the oil. He was able to buy off most of the other tribes except for one, who believed the infidels of the west should leave their land.
While the movie is fictional, it reflects the conflict that goes on within the world of Islam today. Antonio Banderas, with his Spanish accent was as convincing as an Arab as Sean Connery with his Scottish accent was as convincing as a Russian submarine captain. In other words, he pulls it off.
The characters are western stereotypes of Arab culture. They are played well, if you are into the stereotype.
What was with the harem outfit on Frieda Pinto?
Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, nudity. I saw this film under the title "Black Gold."