Day of the Falcon is set in the 1930s Arab states at the dawn of the oil boom, the story centers on a young Arab prince torn between allegiance to his conservative father and modern, liberal father-in-law. "Black Gold" is another wonderful epic adventure by the French director Jean-Jacques Annaud with a great international cast and wonderful cinematography in an environment of "Lawrence of Arabia". It is the highest budget Arabian related film since LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) and was one of the most anticipated film events in the international film community this season, despite the hype, however, the film was met with mixed reviews after the press screening and premier.
The highlight of the film was a fantastic performance by lead role Tahar Rahim (A PROPHET, 2009), his soulful eyes and magnetic vulnerability can work in any film whether speaking or just looking into the camera sans dialogue. Mark Strong also plays a great bearded royal Arabian Sultan Amar, even though he speaks with a distinguishable British accent. The roles that threw the film off were those of Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto.
It is almost impossible to watch Banderas play Bedouin Sheik Nassib without constantly being reminded that he is, in fact, Antonio Banderas. Freida Pinto lends the film her stunning Indian looks as Princess Leyla, but unfortunately her dialogue consists of cliché one-liners that might have saved the movie if not uttered; of course bad film writing is bad writing however delivered.
Expectations were high and while many were left dissatisfied, others rated it a smashing success as it apparently followed the book to a tee, I have not read the book so perhaps I am missing something, but being that I have seen a number of impressive films of late that were made for under the $1 million mark, BLACK GOLD felt like a significant letdown with its $55 million production price-tag and lackluster deliverance.