Lawrence of Arabia Reviews
Score: A+ GREAT!!!
As if all the sweeping vistas, perfectly captured sunrises and sunsets, and grandiose battle scenes aren't enough, the writing, acting, and directing are all perfect or damn near close to it.
Every film production is rife with difficulties, from logistics to locations to the physical demands of shooting for weeks and months on end. But the thought of doing so in the desert, while creating a 4-hour masterpiece, simply boggles this reviewer's mind.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I just couldn't hold interest in this story for the full runtime. If it was only the first half I would have called it brilliant, and a superb historical film. That entire first half seemed to be building towards a specific goal and had some great moments. But the second half seemed to lose direction. It felt like it was split up into a number of vignettes instead of having a singular focus. There were select moments or scenes in the later part of the film that worked but I was in danger of boredom.
The visuals in Lawrence of Arabia are breath-taking. I never thought desert could look so amazing, but they capture the beauty in the scenery. You get a genuine feel of being there in the desert, and can sense the dangers surrounding the characters at all times. Some of these big sweeping shots are truly iconic. And equally as iconic is that music. The score from Maurice Jarre is one I recognized without ever seeing the film. It is a truly legendary piece of music and sets a tone that fits the story well.
I wish I was more of a history nerd so I knew better what was going on in every beat of Lawrence of Arabia. I think I followed most of it, but there were some people (like Alec Guinness' racially questionable character) whose role I kept struggling to figure out. I sensed there were a number of underlying agendas that I wasn't picking up on. But the important part I understood. I certainly didn't actively dislike Lawrence of Arabia, in fact for awhile I was loving it. I just felt with a little more focus and a little less time it might have worked better for me.
Lawrence, a Britishman has practicly nothing but manage to assemble loads of men, warriors, fighters. How? Well, he is very trustworthy, kind and knows how to interact with people. He always has an answer and he builds his army slowly by befriending enemies. There are naturally a cooperation between the Britishmen and the Arabs and the Turks and they're Ottoman Empire are the badguys here. Lawrence collects different tribes of the Arabs to make sure they reached Damascus after several other defeated areas. Why, you say? Well I'm not really sure, but he was put in the place to check the situation down there, being a liaison, by command from the British army, and I guess he figured he wanted to change a thing or two there.
Amazing performance by O'Toole and a brilliant story. It's very long. Actually so long that my tealights that I lit in it's opening scenes nearly went out. Three and a half hours. That's a long time. I had my moments where I went off screen for shorter periods, since this is no rapid film - it's quite slow paced, but there is a constant development so it never feels flat.
Big production. Loads of men and horses. What there is little of here is women, though. There are only a handful of them on screen for seconds only and there are no words given out by any lady. That's some special stuff indeed.
I did like the moment after two hours plus a lot, called "intermission" - two or three minutes with a black screen and music. Great music by the way, the theme score is both unforgettable and fitting.
Big film, a little dissapointment but still a very good film, worth a go when you really have the time for it. There is action, adventure and a very solid story here with a fantastic lead and production. My last film of 2016, 148 in total.
8.5 out of 10 camels.