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Beirut | Review

Oscillating between suspenseful spy thriller and geopolitical drama set in the middle east, BEIRUT follows a U.S. diplomat (Jon Hamm) who returns to Lebanon after 10 years, working with a CIA operative (Rosamund Pike) to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.

Superbly directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, “The Wire”) with a tight script written by Tony Gilroy (The Bourne IdentityMichael Clayton), Beirut will have you on the edge of your seat as you watch an effective cat and mouse chase unfold, only the cat and mouse often change places and we never quite know who is pulling the strings or the political agendas at play.

Set against the back drop of war torn Lebanon in 1982, the movie is relevant to the goings-on in the region today.  This serves to be both depressing in that not much seems to have changed in the two decades that have passed since but also a reminder of just how complicated the politics of this area of the world remain.  The movie effectively holds a mirror to the role that the US often plays in such political treacle using the story of a highly skilled negotiator played expertly by John Hamm who is forced back to the very place he escaped from ten years earlier following tragedy.  A hauntingly beautiful score never lets us forget where we are as we see that war often creates situations and people who can be labelled as hero or terrorist yet when viewed through a different lens, those who are treated as criminals are often the very victims of the situation themselves.

The movie is both thrilling and surprising at times as it twists and turns to a thrilling finale with great performances and well rounded characters.  Rosamund Pike holds her own against a mostly male cast and reminds us yet again of just how versatile she is.  The movie does however expect you to know a little of the history of the region and doesn’t spend a lot of time educating you about it.

Beirut manages to be effectively nostalgic  of an era gone by yet current and fresh despite the fact that it is set in the eighties. The movie opens Nationwide on April 11, check local listings for dates and times.




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