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Day of the Falcon (2013)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,463

My Rating

Movie Info

Starring Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Tahar Rahim (The Eagle), Day of the Falcon is a soaring epic of honor, greed, betrayal and love from award-winning director Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at the Gates). After years of bloody conflict, the leaders of two rival kingdoms reluctantly agree to end the fighting. But when oil is discovered between their territories, the war is re-ignited. Now it is up to their children - young


Drama, Action & Adventure

Mar 25, 2013

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (21)

A far, far cry from "Lawrence of Arabia," but it has its diversions.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie that's fascinating in many respects, but doesn't really work as the lavish entertainment intended.

February 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This ambitious desert epic may be a bit slow and confusing at the beginning, but I found the exciting second half of the movie worth waiting for.

March 1, 2013 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

There's an enormous amount of perverse pleasure to be had here for those who get off on the annihilation of nuance.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Pedestrian storytelling and clunky dialogue leaves this would-be epic drama about a power struggle between feuding kingdoms in soon-to-be-oil-rich 1920s Arabia bogged down in the sand

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

While a plot contrivance late in the day ensures that an opportunity for a climactic battle sequence is not wasted, the film is not really an action epic, but a sweeping story about belief sets in the Arab world.

March 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

At 130 minutes, Black Gold does outstay its welcome with too many confused or aborted storylines.

February 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

'Is there a greater curse than to be a poor king?' Nesib asks sadly early on. Yes: letting a potentially great story slide away into mediocrity.

February 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

It's a tepid, timid affair, sexually, dramatically and politically.

February 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

A contemporary Lawrence of Arabia ... it is not because it's not beating with any passionate heart ...

February 25, 2012 Full Review Source:

It's all very glossy, yet remains an emotionally arid affair.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The real problem is that Black Gold is rather dull, and much too long for comfort.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The clumsy script never really delivers epic drama. Great action scenes, though.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

It would be easy to laugh off if it wasn't so clearly a comment on historical reality.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

It might look good but it's an anachronism that totally loses its way in the desert. Given the director's enthusiasm, Black Gold should have sparkled.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4

Black Gold feels like it could have been made in the 1950s; we have come to expect a little more from our blockbusters.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

Like a cool oasis, the end credits shimmer tantalisingly on the horizon throughout this punishingly tedious Arabian epic...

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The screen is as wide as the universe, but the further you go in either direction the more you realise you have been there before.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A distinctly average adventure which has us wishing for more.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

The direction drags, the performances are uneven and there's a strong sense that the fictionalised story is less interesting than the reality.

February 22, 2012 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

It just goes on and on - the cinematic equivalent of watching sand pouring through an egg timer that takes well over two hours to empty.

February 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Audience Reviews for Day of the Falcon

Not great, not horrible. I can't say it is a must see, but it will entertain. Those that gave the rave reviews must really love "the boy that becomes a hero" theme, despite a lack of deep character development that one would want from a movie like this. Mark Strong was good, as usual, though...
October 18, 2013

Super Reviewer

There's a title card near the beginning that states the story takes place in the early 20th century. Since it is no more specific than that, it is difficult to tell if it takes place in the 1920s or 1930s. I'm also not sure if any of it is based on historical events or if it is completely fictionalized. A bit more context could have helped. The various Arabic tribes are still not united, but how much time has passed since Lawrence and WWI?

Annaud oversees a production with an international cast and crew. In the tradition of Lawrence of Arabia, Banderas, who is originally of Spanish decent, and Strong, who is English, play two Arabic sultans. Strong's Amar is religious and holds on to the traditional ways. Banderas's Nesib is willing to modernize with technology and is interested in becoming wealthy from recently discovered oil in a contested part of the desert. Let's back up. Amar's two sons are given to Nesib about a decade earlier as a kind of peace offering. The older son trying to escape once he has reached maturity and being killed in the process sets a renewed conflict in motion. Tahar Rahim as Prince Auda, the younger son, is really the main character. The movie is filled with characters and events, which are quite cliched, such as Auda wearing glasses to show he is a nerdy librarian and not a warrior, as well as Auda's star-crossed love of Princess Leyla (Pinto). Whenever Auda has a scene with his half-brother Ali though, their interactions are fascinating. Ali, a bastard son of Amar whose modern medical practices are at odds with orthodox Islam is excellently played by Riz Ahmed. Rahim plays the rare sympathetic and introspective character at the center of this war movie fairly well. It is a coming of age story with a few thrilling desert battles as Auda finds he has the skills to lead. Annaud continues to make these international co-productions with English dialog to hopefully benefit from English speaking film markets, however there are several lines, especially at the conclusion, which sound awkward. Between one Dutch and two French writers perhaps something is lost in translation.
May 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Day of the Falcon is one of the stranger period pieces in the past few years. It's a movie that is bad, interesting, dull, exciting, smart, and dumb. It's the cinematic definition of a mixed bag.

Perhaps the greatest testament the film offers as to being a mixed bag is the acting. Antonio Banderas is not good. The protagonist toward the mid to late acts, Tahar Rahim, is serviceable, but not good. The other supporting cast are likewise serviceable, with Mark Strong being the only one of distinction. With his performance, the level of engagement he brings, we see what the film should have been.
The actual composition of the film is impressive. It looks great, with fantastic world building, amazing cinematography, and conveying a realistic sense of early 20th century Saudi Arabia.

The film's script is ambitious, encompassing a narrative with great ambitions. It does succeed in offering an interesting history of the time, from a uncharacteristically positive view of Islam and the Saudi powers.

It achieves this, however, with often stilted dialogue, forced plot mechanisms, and a lack of nuance. The characters too often spell out what they are thinking, and, even with the film's positive depiction, they seem hypocritical and profoundly narrow and illogical in their mindset, which the film fails to acknowledge.

The pace of the film starts of almost unbearably slow, with set-up that is unnecessary, unfocused, and all over the map as far as tone. That the film picks up considerable steam about the mid way point is its saving grace, becoming very engaging after that point.

Overall, Day of the Falcon does enough right to warrant a watch for those fans of period pieces and history (perhaps not so much from an accuracy standpoint), but one that certainly does not live up to the lofty goals it sets for itself.

3/5 Stars
April 20, 2013
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

    1. Prince Auda: I came here as an Emissary.
    2. Sultan Amar: Who's Emissary of peace?
    3. Sultan Amar: Is that why you come with Nesiby solders?
    – Submitted by Mahmoud S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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  • Black Gold (Or Noir) (UK)
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