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“Beirut” a Roller Coaster Ride






Review by John Delia, Sr.

This rollercoaster ride through war torn Lebanon in the movie Beirut, takes a few twists before getting to the meat of the story. Although a fictional narrative, the movie gives a somewhat realistic look at the challenges the country had faced during the 1970’s and early 1980. It’s not the heart of the movie however, but it gives you the lay of the land so the script makes more sense. Not the most convincing effort on film out there, but certainly a reminder of what went on in the Mideast in that period of time.

American Diplomat to Lebanon Martin Skiles (Jon Hamm) along with his wife Nadim (Khalid Benchegra) are living in Beirut, Lebanon in 1971. They throw a party at their upscale residence with 13-year-old Palestinian ward Karim (Yoav Sadian Rosenberg) being a wonderful host. During the party his best friend and CIA Agent Cal Riley (Mark Pellegrino) arrives and notifies Martin that Karim’s brother has been identified as one of the group who kidnapped the Israeli weight lifting team at the Munich Olympics. Moments later the party gets attacked by Palestinian dissidents who take Karim, killing Nadim in the melee.

(l-r) Rosamund Pike stars as Sandy Crowder, Jon Hamm as Mason Skiles and Dean Norris as Donald Gaines in BEIRUT, a Bleecker Street release.
All Photos Credit: Sife Eddine El Amine / Bleecker Street

Ten years later we find Martin in Boston still distraught and binging on alcohol. Still not recovered from the mess he left behind, he gets a visit from an old friend from the Pentagon with orders for him to return to Beirut. Still leery as to why he was called in, American CIA operatives Donald Gaines (Dean Norris), Gary Ruzak (Shae Whigham) and Attaché Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike) are there to assist him. When he finds out that Cal has been kidnapped by Palestinians, Martin finds himself in the middle of a Mideast situation that’s about to explode.

(l to r.) Actor Rosamund Pike, Director Brad Anderson, and actor Jon Hamm on the set of BEIRUT, a Bleecker Street release.

Director Brad Anderson (The Machinist) keeps his movie moving along at a nice pace setting up some very scary volatile situations as his protagonist Martin tries to figure it all out. He does a good job of creating tension and intrigue putting his audience in the middle of the growing crisis that may lead to war between Israel and Lebanon. Where Anderson becomes week however is that the pre-finale twist spins out of control and loses viability, especially since it’s supposed to provide the real reason for the predicament in which everyone finds themselves.

Rosamund Pike stars as Sandy Crowder in director Brad Anderson’s BEIRUT, a Bleecker Street release.

Doing a good job of portraying the man in the middle Martin Skiles, John Hamm tries to hold his own as the beleaguered man who lost everything in Beirut in 1971. He tries to save the film and almost does up until the script turns into a soap opera. I give him credit for providing at least decent entertainment, but it may not be enough to save the film for thriller audiences.

Beirut has been rated R by the MPAA for language, some violence and a brief nude image. (2.5 out of 5 Stars). Stay for the credits and you will see historical photos from the early 1980’s Beirut that may bring back memories of the volatile happenings.

FINAL ANALYIS: A good try, but the finale leaves the thriller grasping for straws.  (2 of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information
Cast: Jon Hamm, Mark Pellegrino, Rosamund Pike, Khalid Benchegra, Dean Norris, Shae Whigham, Douglas Hodge, Idir Chender
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Genre: Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating:  R for language, some violence and a brief nude image
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: April 11, 2018
Distributed by: Bleecker Street

FILM OPENS April 11, 2018 at the following theaters in Florida

Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
AMC Sunset Place 24 Theatres South Miami, FL
AMC Aventura Mall 24 Theatres Aventura, FL
AMC Pompano Beach 18 Pompano Beach, FL
CENTRN CMX Brickell City Center 10 Miami, FL

West Palm Beach:
West Palm Beach AMC City Place 20 West Palm Beach, FL
West Palm Beach AMC Indian River 24 Vero Beach, FL
West Palm Beach CENTRN Downtown at the Mall Gardens Palm 16 Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Orlando AMC Altamonte Mall 18 Altamonte Springs, FL
Orlando AMC Disney Springs 24 Lake Buena Vista, FL
Daytona AMC AMC New Smyrna LUX12 New Smyrna Beach, FL
Melbourne CENTRN Merritt Square 16 & Imax Merritt Island, FL
Orlando CFB-GA Epic of Clermont 16 Clermont, FL
Daytona CFB-GA Epic Palm  Coast 14 Palm Coast, FL
Orlando IND-US Rialto 8 The Villages, FL

Tampa/St. Petersburg:
Tampa AMC AMC Bradenton 20 Bradenton, FL
Tampa AMC Regency 20 – Brandon Brandon, FL
St Petersburg AMC Sundial 20 St. Petersburg, FL
Clearwater AMC Woodland Square 20 Oldsmar, FL
Tampa AMC Highwoods 20 Tampa, FL
Tampa AMC Veterans Expressway 24 Tampa, FL
Lakeland CENTRN Lakeside Village 18 & Imax Lakeland, FL
Clearwater CENTRN Countryside 12 Clearwater, FL
St Petersburg CENTRN Cobb Tyrone Luxury 10 St. Petersburg, FL
Tampa CENTRN Cobb Grove 16 & Cinebistro Wesley Chapel, FL
Tampa REGAL Citrus Park 20 Tampa, FL
St Petersburg REGAL Park Place Stadium 16 Pinellas Park, FL
Clearwater REGAL Hollywood 18 – Pt. Richey Port Richey, FL

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