NZIFF: Beirut

1 hr. 49 min. | Rated M | for violence and offensive language.

Starring: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike

The magnetic Jon Hamm brings swagger in spades to this cracking, old-fashioned spy thriller from the writer of Michael Clayton. Hamm plays Mason Skiles, an alcoholic ex-diplomat who fled Beirut in 1972 when a terror raid upended his life. When an old colleague is taken hostage ten years later, and the kidnappers ask for him by name, Mason is forced to return and navigate a web fraught with danger, deceit and personal demons. Viewers can expect the requisite twists and jolts of gritty action characteristic of its writer Tony Gilroy, while Hamm and a roster of ace supporting players (that includes Rosamund Pike, Shea Whigham and Dean Norris) bring welcome human gravitas to the knotty plot workings. — JF

“A handsome, charismatic actor who has had difficulty finding film roles that suit him as well as his TV success in Mad Men, Hamm is all he should be as the film's flawed hero, projecting a juicy combination of weakness and strength that involves us completely... As any fan of the Bourne films can attest, screenwriter Gilroy is a master at laying out a twisty plot, and Anderson directs with the kind of verve that enables almost all the twists to hit us with the force of surprise... Beirut is as relevant as it is entertaining, and it is very entertaining indeed.” — Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Beirut is a crafty drama that doesn’t depend on car crashes or shootouts for its sense of propulsive action. It may be a mostly pessimistic portrait of its time and place, but it offers hope, if only that movies of its style, scope and smarts can still get made.” — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post


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Poster of NZIFF: Beirut