on March 22, 2013
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
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.
on March 20, 2013
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
on December 22, 2013
I am came across this film strictly by accident and I am so glad I did. I am an American born, female, Christian Arab. I was intrigued by this mainly because Antonio Banderas was acting as an Arab. I had no idea what the storyline was. I was strictly interested in seeing how he would handle this role. He and Mark Strong did a fabulous job capturing the heart of the Arabian male mind and the heart. While there is some character development that needed more work (ex. Ali and the resentment toward his father Amar), it was really an epic achievement. The majesty and grandeur of the filming, the authenticity of the lifestyle, the costumes, music, everything was top notch. Why did I never even HEAR about this movie???
The first time I watched this movie, I sobbed, almost uncontrollably, with a deep pain inside of me because I know what the Arabic mind is like. We are a very proud and very stubborn people and, unfortunately, it often (too often) takes talking with a sword to get your point across or defend your stance - even if you're wrong, you can never admit it. Oftentimes, it is petty things that spiral out of control and become the "mountains out of molehills", and this film captured that mindset perfectly. Actually, it showed it in a more civil light, but the main gist was captured, and except for the pointless death of Ali, I am in love with it and just bought it for myself.
I would rate this a 4.7, but since we can only choose even stars, I had to go with a 4 - it's Ali's death that did that (he was too cute, witty, and handsome to die!) :-D.
on February 5, 2015
One of my favorite movies. Acting and cinematography is outstanding Antonio Banderas has aged quite a bit since The 13th Warrior (another favorite) and is again, a pleasure to watch. The story line is portrays two, Islamic, Arab leader, who clash over their interpretation the Koran. Both want what is best for their people, however one tenaciously, inflexibly adheres to rigid ultra conservative interpretation while the other seeks a more liberal interpretation that will allow drilling for oil so as to bring wealth and a better quality of life for his people. It is a sensitively sculpted movie that thoughfully exposes the conflicts of old vs modern; literal vs interpretive, women's value & rights; young vs old, father vs son; father; nomadic existence vs a city based society; and a great number of other yin & yang coupled topics that provoke thoughtful reflection of the morals & messages this movie conveys and it's relevance and applicability to the Arab & Islamic world today. The music is superb. May favorite piece, Father & Son. I highly recommend this movie.
on April 6, 2013
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."
on March 28, 2016
With fantastic scenery and setting, Day of the Falcon suffers only from being about 20 minutes too long. Although the length is not that big of an issue, there is a great story here of Compassion, Revenge, and ultimately Mercy. The action is top-notch and perhaps it could have used some A-listers to give it more recognition, but all parties involved performed their roles exceptionally well.
Would recommend to anyone interested in action and drama along with magnificent scenery.
on April 14, 2013
While most of us are quite aware of the fact that the main source of oil these days comes from the Middle East most of us have no idea how it came to be discovered there or what brought about a change that allowed the oil to flow to the rest of the world. Many of the answers to these questions can be found in the new DVD release DAY OF THE FALCON.
The film opens with two warring leaders coming to terms with their boundaries. Sultan Amar (Mark Strong) is the more traditional of the two, following the guidelines of his religion as much as possible. Emir Nesib (Antonio Banderas) is a more forward thinking ruler wishing more for his people. The two agree to keep the Yellow Belt, the land between their two countries, as neutral territories. To seal the deal Amar's sons will go with Nesib and be raised as his own to insure the peace.
Fifteen years pass and the peace holds until the day a Texas oil company official approaches Nesib. He tells him there is oil in the Yellow Belt. Nesib has always thought of himself as a ruler who has nothing and no way to provide for his people in a desert covered land. He sees this as an opportunity to grow incredible wealth and in return advance his people by building schools, hospitals and more. The only problem is that in mining these oil fields he has broken the peace agreement and the possibility of war opens once again.
When one of the two princes held as hostage for the peace is killed, his brother Prince Auda (Tahar Rahim) sets out to set things straight. What follows is his adventure in both worlds as he tries to find a compromise that will settle old scores, revenge the deaths in his family and create a world that will have both peace and prosperity.
The beginning of the film sets the stage for what follows so if you find it a bit tedious give it some time. Once Auda heads out to fulfill his destiny things begin to pick up and the action flows with the story rather than the story around it. The role of Nesib seems like a beneficent father figure for his people but of course too much power seems to lead to corruption and poor decision making. The clash of cultures attempts to explain how things have turned out and in some ways does so, in others not so much.
The end result is an entertaining and informative film. In looking deeper you may find that the story has been tweaked a bit here and there to make it more film worth, but the gist of the story remains. While not quite LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, the film is worth watching.
on December 27, 2015
I first saw this on Netflix last year and liked it so much I made it a favorite and watched it several times. So then I decided I needed my own copy to enjoy as Netflix no longer has it on their streaming list. It has a wonderful story of a country coming into it's own with the oil business and of a young man's journey into manhood. I loved the romance angle and that the young man proved himself as a warrior, politician and negotiator much to the surprise to all who knew and underestimated him.
on May 14, 2013
I,enjoyed this movie,because it really touched on historical matters in that part of the world.Where there has been only unrest.And no one can agree on anything.This movie in my opinion was right on the mark.