Black Gold (12A)
Starring: Freida Pinto, Antonia Banderas, Riz Ahmed
Friday 24 February 2012
This old-fashioned, foursquare desert epic chronicles, slowly, the rise of oil-rich Arabia.
Amar (Mark Strong) and Nesib (Antonio Banderas) play tribal leaders who reach a truce over disputed territory when Amar hands over his two sons as wards-cum-hostages for Nesib to raise as his own.
The younger son, Auda (Tahar Rahim), is a peaceable type caught between his birth father's integrity and his adoptive father's embrace of the Yankee dollar after oil is struck in the debated land. Not that he should worry – he's struck gold by getting Princess Freida Pinto as his bride.
Internecine conflict becomes the order of the day, though the film makes it hard to know where the battle-lines begin and end. Whoever wrote the script has a preference for bluster where clarity would have been useful: it's the kind of film in which someone shouts, "We'll follow you to the other side of hell!" while failing to provide much clue as to who "we" might be.
Strong and Rahim come out of it with honour intact but Banderas slices the ham with a scimitar, and Pinto does a pretty (and pretty bland) caged-bird impersonation. Expensively shot yet unengaging, it's an object lesson in how not to tell a story.
All you will remember from it is sand, lots and lots of... sand.
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear presenters to appear on stage in new live format
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Menstruation-themed photo series artist 'censored by Instagram' says images are to demystify taboos around periods
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers