Beirut

– At Your Discretion – R, Drama, Thriller

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While I don’t particularly care for Jon Hamm, I was excited to see Beirut for a number of reasons; mostly for Rosamund Pike and Dean Norris. With a strong cast and an interesting premise for a thriller, Beirut seemed promising. Well folks, that was not the case.

Like other bigger-budget films screened at the OFF (Omaha Film Festival), Beirut falls victim of pointless “action” movie tropes and subsequently is unable to provide any original backbone. It’s funny really, because when you watch the short films from Nebraska filmmakers or shorts produced elsewhere, they seem to find that original flavors work well for them.

Speaking of the cast, they all seemed bored to me. Even Jon Hamm, who the movie relies on heavily as a selling point, doesn’t appear to be interested in the story or even his character. The controversy surrounding the actual plot of this film has left a sour taste in people’s mouths and I can’t say I blame them. The movie relentlessly shoves United States nationalism in your face and paints the country in a positive manner while throwing shade onto other nations. In the age of white-washing and bigotry, any sensitive material needs to be handled with care and with factual evidence that supports the overall message of the film.

Action isn’t a word I would associate with Beirut, either. That doesn’t stop the filmmakers from trying, however, as there are many explosions and some minor shootouts. The problem that I found with those set-pieces is that they feel plastic. In a particular scene, the disastrous-looking CGI bombs will remove you of any tension the scene might have previously set up. Match the awful “action set-pieces” with bored actors and what do you have? A film in which I was falling asleep in, honestly. For me, that doesn’t happen ever and I did actually want to see the film.

If you are curious what the ratings are looking like thus far, IMDB user ratings place it at 4.7/10 while the Rotten Tomatoes critics are giving Beirut an 88%. Of course the ratings for Rotten Tomatoes are based off only a few critic reviews, though. The moral of the story: I won’t recommend that you see this movie. If you would like to see it, though, I’m not stopping you; just simply saying I don’t believe it is worth the price of admission. Currently, Beirut is set for an April 11, 2018 release date.

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