Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Beirut takes place in the city of the same name in the ’80s. It follows former United States diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) who is called back into service, after quitting when his wife was murdered, to save a colleague named Cal (Mark Pellegrino). Cal was a former close friend and ally ten years previous when both men worked in Beirut together. The people who are holding Cal captive might be the same group who is responsible for Mason’s wife’s murder. When Mason arrives in Beirut he begins working with CIA field agent, Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike), who is tasked with keeping Mason alive. But she also has plans of her own.
The strongest piece in Beirut is the powerful performance by Hamm as Skiles. Hamm effortlessly plays a man who is tormented by his past. Layers of Skiles become more and more exposed through each scene and Hamm is there the whole time consciously and precisely giving the audience more information. He does this not through words but through his readable and subtle expressions. This is hands down his best role post-Mad Men. And Pike is suspicious and calculating as CIA field agent Crowder. She leaves just enough information to the audience to keep them invested in her.
Writer Tony Gilroy crafts an engaging and intense Thriller. And these tensions are elevated through Brad Anderson’s direction. This is a Film that places American Spies at the centre of a war-torn country and creates a compelling Spy-Thriller. But although there is a lot going on in the Film there is a feeling that some important political complexes have been left out.
Elevation Pictures release BEIRUT on Friday, April 13, 2018.