A distinctly average adventure which has us wishing for more.
| Original Score: 2/5
A contemporary Lawrence of Arabia ... it is not because it's not beating with any passionate heart ...
The production values don't stint on gloss and camels, but like the black gold that underpins all the desert feuds, Jean-Jacques Annaud's script is definitely crude.
At 130 minutes, Black Gold does outstay its welcome with too many confused or aborted storylines.
It would be easy to laugh off if it wasn't so clearly a comment on historical reality.
There's an enormous amount of perverse pleasure to be had here for those who get off on the annihilation of nuance.
| Original Score: 0/4
Like a cool oasis, the end credits shimmer tantalisingly on the horizon throughout this punishingly tedious Arabian epic...
| Original Score: 1/5
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.
Banderas hams and Pinto flutters. If it weren't for Strong and some colourful art direction, you could chalk this up as a busted well.
A movie that's fascinating in many respects, but doesn't really work as the lavish entertainment intended.
'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.
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.
It's all very glossy, yet remains an emotionally arid affair.
The direction drags, the performances are uneven and there's a strong sense that the fictionalised story is less interesting than the reality.
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
It's a tepid, timid affair, sexually, dramatically and politically.
Ambitious but very tedious and talkatively hackneyed, redeemed just a smidge by the money shots of a swarm of extras on horseback sweeping across the sands.
Black Gold feels like it could have been made in the 1950s; we have come to expect a little more from our blockbusters.
The clumsy script never really delivers epic drama. Great action scenes, though.
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.